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Rockets Legend Bullied Young Michael Jordan For His Horrible Basketball Skill and Forgot About it – But MJ Didn’t

Published 06/04/2022, 7:30 PM EDT

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Michael Jordan is one of the All-Time greats of the NBA. He has displayed multiple times his competitiveness and will to win at any cost. Jordan was also a very hard worker who always pushed himself and his teammates. During his playing career, Michael has played alongside and against many legends of the game. One among them is Kenny “The Jet” Smith. 

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Unlike most players, Kenny had the opportunity to play alongside Jordan and against him. Like Jordan, Kenny played for the University of North Carolina. During which he had the chance to play every day with Jordan. In the newest “All The Smoke” podcast, Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson welcomed Kenny Smith.

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During the podcast, they spoke about a multitude of things, including Kenny’s role in the movie ‘Hustle’, his upbringing in New York City, Michael Jordan, Dean Smith, etc. While talking about his time in UNC with Jordan, “The Jet” revealed how his trash-talking backfired.


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Michael Jordan turned his weakness into his strength

Whenever people talk about Michael Jordan, it is usually about his competitiveness and it is not without reason. Matt Barnes asked how was practice was like during Kenny’s freshman year with great players like Jordan, Matt Doherty, and Sam Perkins. But Jackson wanted to know who was the best player in those practice games. 

Smith said that Sam Perkins was the best player during his freshman year. Kenny said, “Michael was the most dynamic, but he didn’t have a handle. He couldn’t handle the rock like in college… So even at times we played pick up I be like ‘I got Mike’. Because I knew I can get up on you. Like ‘You can’t handle the rock’…”


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As soon as Kenny disclosed this, Stephen asked, “What happened? And then?” Like he knew the Bulls legend was not someone to let go of something like that easily.

So he continued, “He is the only guy that I know that his weaknesses, that he had, at the end of his career was his strengths.” The Rockets legend also said that he used to tell MJ that his handles were whack. But he admitted that Jordan made him eat his words when he was back after a year in the league to UNC for summer training.


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He said that Michael Jordan had incredible handles when he came back. Michael noticed him when he was in awe of his handles and said that he has been working on his handles. And was referring to what Kenny used to say even though Kenny himself forgot he said that.

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Written by:

Bagavathi Eswaran


One take at a time

Bagavathi Eswaran is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He has been playing the game of basketball for more than 20 years now and has also been following the NBA for more than 10 years. After not being able to go pro, this former college player decided to join the IT industry.
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Edited by:

Arunaditya Aima