Stories shown in the documentary confirm the thesis, as we’ve witnessed numerous times players talking trash to MJ, with it eventually backfiring. That’s just what Jordan is made of. He won’t tolerate it. The only thing you’ll be doing is adding fuel to the fire. And the fire is already big enough.
That all being said, some people never learn. They have to have the experience to learn from it. Thankfully for us, because it results in some fantastic stories. This one took place in the 2010-11 NBA season. You must be wondering can it involve MJ; he must’ve been 50ish by that time; he was 48 to be exact. But it didn’t stop him from occasionally lacing ’em up and joining Charlotte’s scrimmage.
This time, he had Stephen Jackson on the other side. The matchup of Jordan vs. Jackson doesn’t sound that attractive. But keep in mind, Jordan was 48 and had stopped playing professional basketball in 2003. And Jackson, at the time, was an 18 points scorer, leading the team in PPG. But what they both had is a high trash-talking skill, as they were both known for talking smack.
Michael joined the scrimmage, bringing some reinforcement with him. Jackson couldn’t resist. He went on the record numerous times, calling MJ the GOAT, but this time, he didn’t care. And you know MJ went right back at him, as the scrimmage turned to their battle.
“We were going through a rough patch. Michael decided to jump in and [bring Charles Oakley] on his team. Stephen Jackson, being Stephen Jackson, started talking trash. Jackson said, ‘that was the past, this is now, and I will bust your ass.’ Michael got furious, trash-talking and killing him and all of us, telling Stephen Jackson, ’how does the leather taste in your mouth’ after every shot. Then it became a 1-on-1. It did not end up well for Stephen Jackson. Michael won. It was incredible. It was good for the team, and we snapped out of the losing streak we had.”Eduardo Najera, Inside Buzz
MJ’s team lost the scrimmage, but he did win a different battle – a trash-talking one. For 48-year old team owner, that may have been the more important one to win. As of Stephen Jackson, he admitted that his smack-talking abilities weren’t up to par with Jordan’s. He said himself that that was the only battle of that sort that he ended up losing.
And how could he win? Jordan brought up his six championships, spicing it up with all the accolades he had won over his playing career. He finished it up, saying to Jackson that he has to remember he’s playing on his team and that Michael is the one paying his check. Ouch! There’s no comeback to that.
But was it worth it, though? Jackson said that he didn’t speak to Michael after that day. He also got traded the next year, losing a shoe deal in the process. Is Michael that petty that this was some sort of revenge for losing the scrimmage? I hope not. Stephen said it all jokingly, but I guess you never know with number 23.
Stephen, I hope you’ve learned your lesson. Don’t underestimate the man even in his late 40s because that competitiveness inside Jordan will never grow old.