Magic Johnson didn’t talk trash on the basketball court very often, and he especially didn’t talk trash to his good friend Michael Jordan. He had heard about some of MJ’s most infamous trash-talking moments, and he knew better than to get on his bad side. But during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday night, Magic revealed that he did make an exception once and try to go at MJ. And guess what? It didn’t end well for him.
According to Magic, he and MJ were on opposing teams during a Dream Team practice back in 1992 when he decided that he was going to poke the bear. The team that Magic was playing on, which featured players from the NBA’s Western Conference, was leading the team MJ was playing on, which featured players from the Eastern Conference, by 10 points. So Magic walked up to MJ and told him he was going to need to “turn into Air Jordan” if his team was going to have any chance of coming back. And unfortunately for Magic, that’s exactly what MJ did. Here’s the story Magic told to Jimmy Kimmel:
I never talked trash but one time in my entire life with Jordan. My first ever time talking trash. We’re with the Dream Team and, for three days in a row, we had came into a tie. What Coach [Chuck] Daly did, he split the team up East versus West. So [Charles] Barkley, Jordan, Larry Bird, [Scottie] Pippen, and Patrick Ewing all played in the East, and then we had the West guys—myself, David Robinson, [Karl] Malone, [Chris] Mullin, [Clyde] Drexler, and John Stockton.
So we would play everyday. Tie. This is the fourth day, and we got out on them about 12-2. So I said, ‘I’m going to really rattle [MJ's] chains.’ So I went over to him, tapped him on the shoulder, and said, ‘Hey man, if you don’t turn into Air Jordan, we’re going to blow you out today.’ Jimmy, his eyes got big. Usually that tongue comes to about right here, now it’s way out.
They broke the huddle, he hit a 3, and he’s looking at me. [sticks tongue out] He came down again, hit another 3. [sticks tongue out again] So the greatest shot—now, I’ve been involved in all three of them. First, Dr. J walked out of bounds in air, reverse layup. Michael Jordan in 1991 came down on us with the right hand and tongue out, he switched in mid-air to the left, and spun it against the glass. But this was the greatest shot I had ever seen.
[MJ] came down the right side, took off, David Robinson took off, and [MJ] said, ‘Okay, I’m going to just sit here in the air, because I know David Robinson is going to go down.’ So David Robinson went to the ground, [MJ] 360’d, tongue moving, and dunked it. In a practice game! I was like, ‘Oh my goodness!’ I was just stunned. All of us were stunned to see him hang in the air that long and 360. Michael Jordan is so incredible. There will never be another one.
MJ later went on to call the game that was played at that particular Dream Team practice the greatest game he was ever involved in. He went as far as to say that it was “the most fun I ever had on a basketball court.” You can watch a clip from a Sports Illustrated documentary on the game here:
Elsewhere in his interview with Kimmel, Magic also discussed his relationship with Prince and the time the legendary artist called and asked him to open one of his movie theaters up at 2 a.m. You can watch that portion of the interview here:
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