Jackson recalls retired MJ beating Bobcats in scrimmage originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Stephen Jackson told a Michael Jordan story you will not believe during a recent appearance on the “Million Dollaz Worth of Game” podcast.
While Jackson was never Jordan’s teammate during the former’s 14-year NBA career, he did play under Jordan as a member of the Charlotte Bobcats 2009-2011 (Jordan bought a minority stake of the team and became head of basketball operations after the 2005-06 season, then purchased a majority stake in February 2010).
And, while Jordan had been officially retired for seven years by that point, apparently his motivational tactics were similar to his legendary playing days with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards.
To hear Jackson tell it, the Bobcats had just endured a brutal loss some time during the 2009-10 season, and Jordan was not pleased.
“We got our ass beat by somebody, and he came in the locker room after the game just going off on us. Like, ‘we need to get our s*** together,” Jackson said on the podcast. “I made some little comment or something like that, he ain’t say nothing.”
Then, the next day at practice, Jordan came back for more. Jackson recalls Jordan storming into the Bobcats’ facility and cussing the team out, at one point demanding they all take off their Jordan-brand sneakers because he did not deem the team fit to wear them.
Later, as tensions reached a head, Jackson swears a retired Jordan actually suited up with the Bobcats’ second unit during a practice scrimmage — and led them to a victory over the starters.
“Whatever he had on, he came out there, pushed whoever Gerald Wallace was guarding, the [small forward], kicked him out and got in that spot, played with the second team,” Jackson said. “He scored a couple points — and to the point where he talked so much s*** afterwards, he grabbed the ball and went and dunked one on the way out.”
Story begins at the 1:05:00 mark. (Warning: NSFW language)
Depending on when exactly the above took place, Jordan would have been either 46 or 47 years old at the time of this story. And, based on Jackson’s recollection, the Bobcats’ starting lineup at the time also included Gerald Wallace, Raymond Felton, Boris Diaw and Tyson Chandler.
It did not matter.
“I’m a real one. This is what I told myself,” Jackson said when asked if the experience was embarrassing. “That’s why he’s the GOAT. That’s why I’m wearing his shoes.”
Jackson’s other takeaway was that the incident lit a fire under that season’s Charlotte team. The Bobcats finished that season 44-38, made the playoffs — their first winning season and postseason berth since 2001-02 — and had the NBA’s top-ranked defense.
“We went on a run. I had one of the best years of my career after that, we made the playoffs, all that. We finished (with the) number one defense in the league,” Jackson said. “From that moment on, we took off. He knew what he was doing.
“So there’s more reasons than basketball, him being the GOAT. He knew how to get to us.”
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