Skip to main content

"Just young and dumb" -- Mark Jackson on taunting Jordan with his tongue out


"Well, it’s an unconscious habit that I picked up from my father," Michael Jordan said about the origin of his iconic tongue tic. "Being a little kid and you’re watching your father work, he used to stick his tongue out, and I took it up and made it a habit."

Soon enough, MJ turned that habit into a trademark. And naturally, due to potential consequences of trademark infringement -- that being Michael's revenge -- no other NBA player was allowed to do it. But Mark Jackson tried, and it backfired.

I was just young and dumb. But I had a moment.

Mark Jackson, Club Shay Shay

His moment came in Game 2 of the 1989 second-round matchup between the Bulls and the Knicks -- New York came out on top 114-97 to tie the series at one game apiece. MJ struggled that game -- he finished with 15 points on 7-for-17 from the field -- and Jackson, who led the Knicks to victory with 20 points and 16 assists, started feeling himself.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

I thought we had every answer because we were rollin'. So I stripped him and I'm like, 'Oh it's on New York City, I stripped him.' Now they foul me on the break and I go in the air and I stick my tongue out. Mistake. Huge mistake.

Mark Jackson, Club Shay Shay

The morning before Game 3, Doug Collins showed Michael a video of Jackson sticking his tongue out. Later that day, once the game tipped off, so did Jordan's revenge campaign. And to no one's surprise, it ended up being a success -- he led the Bulls to a 111-88 victory with 40 points, 15 rebounds, and 9 assists on 14-for-25 from the field.

Like he talked about it in the documentary; he takes all of that and uses it as fuel. And he took advantage of that and used it as fuel and took over the game. I don't know what made me do it. I remember looking over at my dad and he's like, 'don't do that.'

Mark Jackson, Club Shay Shay

If only his dad had given Mark that advice earlier. Because once he stuck his tongue out to taunt No.23, the damage was already done. And at that point, there was no going back. Michael "took it personal," and the rest is history.


Bill Russell once explained how he would defend Shaq: "He has to carry that weight up and down!"

A duel between the most dominant big man ever and the best defensive player in history would be a true showdown.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant

Most epic on-court trash talk moments caught on camera

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James all dropped epic lines to hush their foes.

Houston Rockets point guard Aaron Brooks

One-hit wonder — whatever happened to Houston Rockets’ Aaron Brooks?

Aaron Brooks played like an All-Star player in 2009-2010 season. However, his performances dipped due to injuries and alleged attitude problems.

Indiana Pacers legend Reggie Miller, Utah Jazz guard John Stockton, Scottie Pippen forward Chicago Bulls

Reggie Miller on why Scottie Pippen was the X-Factor in the Bulls' NBA Finals wins against the Jazz

Scottie Pippen has literally contained the best point guards in NBA history.

San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan, center David Robinson and center Kevin Willis

”We might not want to grab him” - Kevin Willis says Tim Duncan and David Robinson hesitated to throw him into a pool when he first arrived in San Antonio

Former San Antonio Spurs center Kevin Willis recalled his hilarious and epic first meeting with Tim Duncan and David Robinson.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

“There are many days I don't want to be around people and I'm a nasty person” — Michael Jordan opens up about why he doesn’t like showing himself to the public

Throughout his playing days, Michael Jordan hinted why he prefers to stay away from the public spotlight, and true enough, he carries that persona in retirement.


Ben Simmons gets heated after a fan roasts him to his face: "Hey Russell Westbrook! Can't shoot bro?"

The comedian known for clowning NBA players went up to Simmons at the mall, but the Nets star was not having it.