Michael Jordan and Gary Payton are known for being some of the most notorious trash talkers in NBA history, as the two loudmouths had their share of battles. The most notable one came in the 1996 NBA Finals between the Bulls and Sonics, in which Payton himself decided to take on the challenging task of checking Jordan. It seems the two had different views of how that went.
In the 8th episode of the “Last Dance” documentary, “The Glove” talked about how he didn’t back down from Jordan, as he tired him out in his opinion. MJ reacted to Payton’s statement and gave us one of the more iconic clips and reactions we have ever seen, straight up laughing at him, saying it was no problem at all.
Payton finally gave us his reaction to the whole situation, as he answered numerous questions on Bleacher Report’s AMA, including how he felt about Jordan laughing at him:
“It’s like this to me. He wouldn’t be Michael Jordan if he would have bowed down there. Everybody knows about his competitiveness. He was a guy who came every night to play. I respect him for that because I came every night to play. I was never gonna back down to him and he knew that. If it was my documentary and they asked me the same thing I would have laughed too and been like “no he couldn’t go at me neither.” Every night I played Michael Jordan he brought the best out of me. Wish I could have started off on him in the championship and it would have been better, but their team was better than mine at the time and they won it all. He did a documentary, he felt the way he felt. What I can do is I can say the same thing hahaha.”Gary Payton, via Bleacher Report
You have to admit Jordan’s reaction was hilarious, but GP deserves his praises. His Sonics were down 3-0 in those Finals, but when he took on the task of guarding Jordan, they managed to take two games and get back into the series. Unfortunately for him, it was too late, as the momentum wasn’t enough to stop the Bulls from winning it all in 6 games.