‘Next Year He Looked Older’: Former Lakers Player Recollects Memories of Playing Against Michael Jordan

Published 02/13/2021, 7:00 AM EST
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)


Players during the 80s and 90s were lucky to play against Michael Jordan. Players who joined after his retirement would have been upset but his return in 2001 would have made them happy. A chance to play against arguably the greatest player of all-time is a once in a lifetime chance.

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Former NBA champion Metta World Peace recently spoke about his experience of playing against Jordan. Unfortunately for him, he joined the Bulls a year after Jordan retired, so he didn’t get a chance to play alongside his idol. But when Jordan returned with the Wizards, he got a chance to face him.

DATE: 10/20/01 PHOTO BY : JOEL RICHARDSON DIG MICHAEL JORDAN AND THE WIZARDS HOST NEW JERSEY NETS (Photo by The The Washington Post via Getty Images)

He said, “I was on the same court as MJ in the summer maybe five or seven times. And I loved playing MJ man, it was the most fun thing ever.”

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“His first year he came back, he was so good. But next year he looked older, and his production went way down in his last year. But he still gave us 40, when I was with the Pacers.”

When Metta World Peace injured Michael Jordan

World Peace was one of the most aggressive and feared players during his playing days. He was a nightmare to be matched up against. But Jordan didn’t care. When Peace played against Jordan during a summer pick-up game, he rained buckets.

Tired of letting Jordan score, Artest decided to stick close to his man and not give him room to breathe. But while trying to do that, he elbowed Jordan in the chest and actually broke his ribs. Despite the injury, Jordan never fell and kept playing. He was one of the most resilient players, which is why it’s unsurprising that he played on.

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In eight of his 12 full seasons at Chicago, he played every game in the regular season. In three other seasons, he played at least 78 games. He just had one injury-marred season and was one of the most injury-free players.

Had it not been for the circumstances, Jordan would have played from 1984 to maybe 2003 without taking any years off. But within the time he played, after five MVPs, six rings, and ten scoring titles, Jordan proved that he is arguably the greatest to play the game.

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Aaron Mathew

1537 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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