‘Don’t Think He Could Guard Me’: Gary Payton Reacts to Michael Jordan Laughing at Him in ‘The Last Dance’

Published 06/17/2021, 8:30 AM EDT
OAKVILLE, ONTARIO, CANADA – JULY 20: Five-time NBA MVP Michael Jordan smiles after hitting to the seventh green during the RBC Canadian Open’s Mike Weir Charity Classic Pro-Am at Glen Abbey Golf Club on July 20, 2009 in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)


ESPN series ‘The Last Dance’ brought out the candid life of legend Michael Jordan in an elaborate manner. In an attempt to cover the small and large details of his career, a lot of controversies and skirmishes came into the spotlight. Now that it’s been more than a year that Last Dance was gifted to the audience, the series continues to stir talks.

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Back when the 10-episode docu-series was released, one of the most famous scenes was when Michael Jordan gave a rather mocking laugh on screen. What was so funny for the Bulls star?

The documentary crew had shown Michael a video of former Seattle SuperSonics player Gary Payton. Gary was seen narrating the 1996 Finals clash with the Chicago Bulls. When Seattle went 3-0 down in the series, 1996 season DPOY Gary had stepped up to guard Michael. Payton said that his defense ‘took a toll’ on MJ in that series and that gave Seattle Game 4 and 5 victories.

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The famous mocking laugh of Michael Jordan

In reaction to the comment by Payton, Michael laughed his heart out in one of the most candid moments of The Last Dance. Moreover, he also said, “The Glove? I had no problems with the glove (Gary Payton).”

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Payton says he would have reacted the same as Jordan

While it could have been interpreted as ‘humiliating’ for the former Seattle player, Gary took it in his stride.

On ‘The Colin Cowherd Podcast’, the Hall of Famer said, “If he didn’t say that, I wouldn’t respect it, I wouldn’t respect him at all. I wouldn’t even look at him anymore because he’s a competitor like me. I looked forward to guarding him. He laughed. I would’ve laughed at the same thing because I don’t think he could guard me. So if he would’ve done that I would’ve been like, ‘Ha… please.’”

Well, it was a temporary celebration for the Seattle SuperSonics as the Bulls won the championship with a 4-2 lead. Michael Jordan had begun his second three-peat in 1996 to add to his line of trophies, and the Bulls star always had the last laugh when it comes to basketball.

WATCH THIS STORY: Times Michael Jordan Was Injured But Still Refused to Back Down

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Pavni Ahuja

451 articles

Pavni Ahuja is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Housing a keen interest in sports journalism, she is pursuing an undergraduate Journalism degree from Christ University. Pavni is an ardent fan of the NBA, with prior district-level playing experience in basketball.

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