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Michael Jordan explains why he enjoyed interacting with fans even when they were trash-talking him

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Michael Jordan loved interacting with fans, even the ones that were heckling him from the sidelines. Fans that were constantly trash-talking to him fueled his motivation to dominate that specific game because he wanted that challenge in front of him.

NBA players have distanced themselves from the fans

The popularity of basketball and the NBA has been at their peak for the past couple of years. The main effect is the massive contracts players are given every year; however, the players themselves are more distant from the fans attending the game than ever before. There is a notion that the NBA is strictly business and nothing else, which is so true when you take everything into account that is happening with the league. It wasn’t like that before, which was evident when players and fans engaged in conversation and trash-talk during the games, making the entire environment more appealing and fun for everyone, especially the fans.

In recent years, there were several situations in the NBA where the players themselves complained about fans trash-talking them, which often resulted in them getting escorted out of the arena. Of course, the fans should know the boundaries when interacting with players, but the players are often way too sensitive. That is the part of the game which brought excitement, and it made fans engaged in the whole experience.

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Jordan loved interacting with heckling fans

In one of his older interviews, Michael Jordan talked about the situation when he dunked on John Stockton, which resulted in a random fan yelling, “pick on someone your own size.” Jordan accepted the challenge and proceeded to dunk on Jazz center Mel Turpin and responded: “Is he big enough”. These types of situations, and there were numerous of them in Jordan’s career, prove that he didn’t want to distance himself from the fans that wanted to be involved in the game as much as possible.

“I think the fans should be involved in it. They are here to see the game, they are here to see the entertainment, and if you don’t talk to them, it seems you are isolated from them. I like talking back to them. Magic does it, and it’s a part of the game. It shows you are enjoying the game so much you don’t feel the game is such a business that you don’t talk to people and show how much you love the game.”

Jordan was known as someone who loved playing games within the games, and it was usually with fans, who would often challenge him in different ways. Kobe Bryant was also the same, and it never occurred to them to have a fan thrown out of the game because of trash-talking pointed at them. Times have definitely changed, and after fans get back to the arenas after the pandemic is over, we’ll see what type of interaction we’ll have among them and the players during games.

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