Have you heard about the battles between Michael Jordan and LaBradford Smith on back to back nights? One night in March back in 1993, the Washington Bullets came to town to face off against the Chicago Bulls. LaBradford Smith, who was a relatively unknown role player. A stand-out at the University of Louisville, Smith had a short-lived NBA career. Yet he was capable of playing at a good level for one night even though he averaged 9.3 points for the season. That night Smith lit up the Bulls for 37 points on 15-20 shooting. His second-highest NBA outing in points was 22. He almost reached that in the first half of this game as he was already at 21
Scottie Pippen defended Smith for most of the game, and a frustrated Jordan had a few chances at guarding Smith, but he was unsuccessful. The Bulls still went on to win the game 104-99, but Jordan wasn’t happy that an unknown player like Smith took it to his Bulls team. Jordan even claimed that LaBradford Smith was talking some trash and even mocked MJ by saying, “Nice game Mike.”
The very next night, the Bulls were in Washington to go up against LaBradford Smith and the Bullets, and in typical MJ fashion, he was in killer mode. Jordan started the game knocking down his first 8 shots and finished with 47 points 8 rebounds 4 assists and 2 steals in 31 mins as the Bulls would go on to a 126-101 win over the Bullets.
The crazy part of this whole story is that LaBradford Smith never said a word to Jordan. Jordan admitted years later that he made up the entire trash-talking story because he needed the motivation to get back at Smith for taking it to his Bulls team. This story also serves as a good indicator in the competitive mind of Michael Jordan and the fact he will do anything to get the win and embarrass his opponent.