Michael Jordan is considered the greatest basketball player of all time by the majority of the NBA world, but his legacy goes beyond his basketball skills. The crazy competitive nature, killer instinct, coolness, and especially trash-talking prowess made MJ the full package and icon for even young basketball players today. This story by John Salley is a prime example of Jordan's swagger.
John Salley wasn't much of an individual player, but he is remembered for his days with the Detroit Pistons, in which he played a crucial role for the infamous "Bad Boys." At that time, Salley would rival Jordan and be a part of the team that routinely bounced out MJ out of the playoffs while hacking the life out of him.
But with time, wounds would heal, and Salley would even join forces with Michael on the 1996 Chicago Bulls. Fair enough, the 4x champ wouldn't have much of a role or impact, appearing in only 17 games in limited minutes. But he still managed to add another ring to his resume while building a friendship with MJ.
Being the funny and outgoing character he is, you simply couldn't hate Salley, even if he was a part of the team you despised once upon a time. But Michael never forgot on the court, as Salley told a classic MJ trash-talking story that happened in a pick-up game during their time together in Chicago:
"So Michael acts like he's leaving. Doubles back, has on his tennis sneakers, Vans with a Nike swish on them. 'Nah nah nah, Phil I'm in this scrimmage. Put the Pistons, Ron Harper over there, its the Pistons vs the Cavs, and we have Randy Martin'. All of a sudden, Michael gets a steal, and I'm running back. I turn back, and I'm gonna block the shot. I'm about to jump, and all of a sudden, I mistime it. When I look up, Michael's midsection is going by my head. He's like 'Block this, b*tch! Yeah that bad boy sh*t.' After pratice I wnt home and called my mom that I just saw the greatest basketball player of all time… Ma, he did it in sneakers."
John Salley, Fantasy Sports Network
It's never a good idea to jump with Air Jordan, but Salley had to learn that the hard way that day. The fact Michael was playing in his Vans and trash-talking Salley in the air only adds icing to the cake of another proof of why Jordan was indeed one of a kind. It didn't matter if it was the NBA Finals or a meaningless pick-up run. Michael always brought his A-game.