“You Play Dirty”: Michael Jordan Stormed Off the Court After Physically Manhandling Opponent

Published 10/26/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
Utah Jazz’s John Stockton, left, and Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan fight for a rebound in the third quarter of Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Salt Lake City, Friday, June 5, 1998. The Bulls defeated the Jazz 93-88, tying the best-of seven series 1-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


Michael Jordan and John Stockton have a bitter-sweet history. There are some who believe that Stockton never got the credit he deserved and is better than Jordan. While that is another debate altogether, the two have butted heads with each other on the court on many occasions. One of them turned out to be more heated than anyone would expect.

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Michael Jordan and Stockton’s first angry argument

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John Stockton is overlooked by most NBA fans. Despite the fact that he set some records in the league, that might never be broken. He might have been the smallest player on the court most of the time, but he was an excellent point guard. In fact, there was one aspect of his game that was always underappreciated. He hardly ever trash-talked with anyone.

He focused on getting his team, the Utah Jazz wins, and entirely orchestrated their offense. Coming back to his face off against Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz met each other consecutively in the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998. The result of both was the same, with Michael Jordan’s Bulls triumphing over the Jazz.

However, there was one very serious altercation between both Stockton and MJ. Michael had mastered the art of trash-talking by then, but this was the first time he did it to John. He went as far as saying, “You play dirty! Don’t do that”. It was one of those rare occasions that Stockton gave it back to Jordan as well. The argument between the two of them went on for quite a while.

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John Stockton had something against MJ’s ‘Last Dance’

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Michael Jordan during 2006 Jordan All-American Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, United States. ***Exclusive*** (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Michael Jordan’s Last Dance only encapsulated the Bulls and Mj’s story, and everyone who was a part of it was aware when they agreed to be a part of it, so did Stockton. However, one of the biggest reasons he was first denied being a part of this project was because he did not want to relive losing to MJ and the Bulls.

Stockton, who always expressed his respect for MJ, even went as far as calling it a “Jordan puff piece”. Losing to Jordan once is still digestible, but twice back-to-back, that too with the Larry O’Brien Trophy at stake, had to be very humiliating for John. Of course, John eventually decided to do the interview, he was of course, a big part of his final time with the Bulls.

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DIVE DEEPER

WATCH: Frustrated Michael Jordan Smashed Competitor’s Head After Failing To Score

about 2 months ago

 

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Yashima Bhatia

1754 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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