Skip to main content

“Who the fu*k is this guy?”- Michael Jordan’s reaction to Gianmarco Pozzecco defending him

Gianmarco Pozzecco may seem crazy as a coach but he was even crazier as a basketball player.
Michael Jordan and Gianmarco Pozzecco

Michael Jordan and Gianmarco Pozzecco

The breakout star from the 2022 EuroBasket tournament isn’t wearing a jersey. Instead, he wears a crisp coat and tie on the sidelines, giving animated instructions and reactions when the Italian national team gets controversial calls. His name is Gianmarco Pozzecco, the coach of the Italian team, who once drew the ire of Michael Jordan due to his pesky personality.

“Who the fu*k is this guy?”

Pozzecco as a player was as passionate as he was as a coach. He sported red hair back then, but his skills were what caught the eyes of some NBA players back then. Tim Duncan, a usually reserved and even stoic big man, couldn’t help but comment on the Italian point guard he battled with when the San Antonio Spurs competed in the McDonald’s Open. “That redheaded guy impressed me,” Duncan claimed.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Pozzecco’s exploits would soon reach the NBA shores. The Phoenix Suns and the Toronto Raptors expressed interest, but he got the ultimate test of a lifetime against Michael Jordan in a scrimmage in Chicago in 2001. MJ was already past his prime then, but that didn’t stop the Gorizia native from putting his best foot forward. Gianmarco shared how he stole the ball from the Chicago Bulls legend.

“There were 25 black players, and then me. Michael Jordan said “Who the fu*k is that guy?”. We play, he tries to catch a ball by throwing it back after a wrong pass from a teammate, and I catch it up. Legend has it that I said to him: “Michael, I thought you were a little stronger…”.

Gianmarco Pozzecco at the EuroBasket

Defying the odds is nothing new for Gianmarco. In the 2004 Athens Olympics, he was part of the Italian team that shocked the U.S. team led by Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwyane Wade in a prep game.

Pozzecco demanded the same mentality, passion, and ruthlessness from his players, which sometimes led to his ejections. Some call him overacting or crazy, but the antics are appreciated by his team. You can’t fake emotions when everything he has shown from the beginning is authentic.

But that’s Gianmarco Pozzecco for you. You take the good and the bad and all the fireworks that come with them. He may rack up technical fouls, but he gets the message across: play every game like it was your last. 

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler during media day

Is Jimmy Butler the ultimate troll or a business guru?

With Jimmy Butler moving towards the latter half of his career, it seems that he wants to start building his off-court brand.

Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan on Oprah Show

“He never understand what it takes to be a winner” — When Michael Jordan humiliated Charles Barkley on Oprah

It’s hard to tell if Jordan took Barkley’s joke personally, but what he said next changed the vibe and the entire atmosphere in a few seconds.

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan

"I don't think I could truly be happy until I retire" - DeMar DeRozan pulls the curtain back on daily rigors of NBA life

There's one thing Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is looking forward to the most when he hangs up his sneakers for good.

Venus Williams and Shaquille O'Neal

When Shaquille O'Neal lied about having affairs with Venus Williams, Cindy Crawford, and Aaliyah

Venus Williams issued a strong statement upon hearing Shaquille O'Neal's claims.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan is defended by Detroit Pistons center James Edwards

“The Bulls complained all the time” — Kevin McHale reveals why the Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons hated the Chicago Bulls

Unlike Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Kevin McHale believes the physicality the Bad Boy Pistons played with was valid and it made his Celtics even better.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and guard Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook still does the same offseason workout he and Kevin Durant used to do in OKC — “It definitely helps”

Russell Westbrook revealed that he has been running on sand dunes for about eight years now every offseason and it has been helping him a lot.

New Orleans Hornets center Chris Kaman

How Chris Kaman got Player Exclusive "Air Sasqhatuces" from Nike in 2012

After he became an All-Star in 2010, Chris Kaman triggered a clause in his Nike deal that he’d get Player Exclusives