Skip to main content

Kenny Smith shares who was the only guy that could irritate Michael Jordan

A hilarious story about "Mad Max" going after MJ.
Michael Jordan, Kenny Smith and Vernon Maxwell

Michael Jordan, Kenny Smith and Vernon Maxwell

Aside from being the greatest basketball player of all time in the eyes of the majority of NBA fans, Michael Jordan was also one of the most feared and scariest individuals you could ever face. Not many would try to get under his skin, and rare would succeed, but one guy actually irritated MJ, in the words of Kenny Smith.

"Mad Max"

You don't get nicknamed "Mad Max" if you didn't have that special kind of edge to your personality and game. But that's precisely who Vernon Maxwell was. The 6'4'' guard spent the best and longest part of his career on the Houston Rockets, winning two championships and playing a vital role.

Even though it was all about Hakeem Olajuwon, Maxwell was one of those key supporting guys from the perimeter, bringing in shooting, playmaking, defense, and toughness to that team. The last aspect was especially important, as Maxwell did a lot of the dirty work, clashing with opposing stars and irritating them. Even if it was Michael Jordan on the other side.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"You scoring on me too easy!"

Another one of those key role guys on the championship Rockets teams was also Kenny Smith. "The Jet" shared the backcourt with Maxwell in those years, as he had the chance to see and hear a lot of his heated moments from up-close.

A few years ago, on Open Court, Kenny shared a hilarious story of Maxwell and Jordan getting into it while explaining how Vernon was really the only guy to be able to irritate the great MJ:

"Playing with Vernon Maxwell was great. His personality was infectious on the court. This 'Mad Max' persona. He was the only guy I saw that irritated Michael in his career. Vernon told him twice. He's like:'If you score again, the way you're scoring, I'm going to fight you. He's disrespecting me. He's scoring on me too easy.' So, Michael scored again, and he actually swung on him."

Kenny Smith, The Universe Galaxy NBA

Talk about staying true to your word. Maxwell was so competitive and fired up that he saw Jordan scoring over him as a sign of disrespect towards him. Pretty crazy, but I guess that is why they called him "Mad Max." No wonder Jordan found it annoying to go up against such a fiery competitor.

New Jersey Nets guard Jason Kidd and Boston Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine

Brian Scalabrine credits Jason Kidd for turning him into the White Mamba

White Mamba was honest about the fact that without Kidd, he'd be out of the NBA in three months.


Draymond Green had a huge blunt station at his wedding

No wonder LeBron, Curry, Tatum, and numerous other NBA stars had such a great time at Draymond's wedding.


Skip Bayless takes a dig at Bronny James' monster dunk: "Your dad would have done it better!"

It seems like Skip is planting seeds to hate on the next generation of LeBron James and his family.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Channing Frye

“Everyone loves this conversation, but stop it, because the things that you judge it by is never the same.” — Channing Frye hates the GOAT debate

Frye explains why Shaquille O'Neal's percieved value has depreciated over time because of the GOAT conversation.

Michigan State Spartans center Anthony Ianni and forward Draymond Green

Why ex-teammate Anthony Ianni calls his friendship with Draymond Green a blessing in disguise

A great story explaining why Draymond is beloved by teammates, despite his abrasive character.

Golden State Warriors head coach Keith Smart instructs point guard Stephen Curry

“He didn't believe that much in Steph and would bench him a lot” — Jeremy Lin opens up about the rocky relationship between Steph Curry and his former coach Keith Smart

During Steph's second year in the league, he was often yelled at, benched during the 4th quarter, and reprimanded by his former coach, Keith Smart.