“It’s Way Too Late for You, I’m Already Hot”: Michael Jordan Ended Former NBA Star’s Hopes with His Alpha Mentality in 1995

Published 11/20/2022, 2:50 PM EST

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Many defenders attempted to guard Michael Jordan in their careers but failed. In fact, former NBA star Derek Harper considers himself fortunate not to have faced Jordan frequently. Derek Harper, a former Dallas Mavericks guard, appeared on ESPN’s exclusive Dennis and Cowlishaw show in 2020. There, he shared his experience as a defender versus Jordan.

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Derek Harper made his NBA debut for the Mavericks in 1983. He has played in 16 NBA seasons throughout his career. And he retired from the sport in 1999. Harper, the two-time All-Defensive Second Team selection, was questioned during the 2020 interview, “How often did you have to guard Michael Jordan?” He replied, “Thank God not a lot. I didn’t get to play against him a lot.”

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March 29, 1995 was a day that Harper will never forget. Jordan dropped 55 points in a game between the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Harper approached his coach, Pat Riley, and requested an opportunity to defend Jordan. He wished to slow him down.

But the Chicago Bulls legend was already unstoppable that night. Harper tried, but soon got a reply from Jordan. His Airness said, “I tell you what, Harp. I respect you. You’re a pretty hard-nosed defensive player but it’s way too late for you. I’m already hot.” That’s what you call legendary confidence.

You should not challenge the alpha mentality of Michael Jordan

The 7ft 2 Dikembe Mutombo was one of the defenders who was successful in stopping Michael Jordan, but not for long. Mutombo entered the league in 1991, and it didn’t take him long to earn the reputation of the ultimate shot blocker. And he was successful in stopping Jordan as well. The iconic defender popularized his famous finger wag he did after blocking a shot.

It was all until the day he boasted to Jordan for not being successful after going for a dunk on him during the 1997 NBA All-Star Game. And you don’t say such things to Jordan who is a hardcore and ruthless competitor. And months after the conversation, the night came, in Game 5 of the 1997 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Jordan finally dunked on Mutombo. He showed his dominance by doing the iconic finger wag on Mutombo.

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WATCH THIS STORY:  Michael Jordan’s 5 Rumored Affairs After Divorce With Juanita Vanoy

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That’s Michael Jordan for you. Do share your favorite MJ moment in the comment section below.

 

 

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Written by:

Ritesh Jha

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Ritesh Jha is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Technology in Computer Science from Rungta College. Ritesh worked as an intern content writer for a digital marketing agency called KCAS Branding before joining EssentiallySports.
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Edited by:

Satagni Sikder

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