Magic Johnson wasn’t much of a trash-talker during his NBA career, especially when it came to his good friend Michael Jordan. But one time, he had a little fun with Michael and it didn’t end well for him.
During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday night (May 19), Magic recalled a story of the time he did talk smack to Jordan during a Dream Team practice back in 1992.
According to Magic, he was was playing on a team featuring players in the NBA’s Western Conference, while MJ led the team of players from the East. Apparently, Jordan’s team was down by 10, and this is when Magic told him he’d need to “turn into Air Jordan” if his team was going to come back. Unfortunately for Magic, it was a big mistake.
Here’s what he told Kimmel:
I never talked trash but one time in my entire life with Jordan. My first ever time talking trash. We’re with the Dream Team and, for three days in a row, we had came into a tie. What Coach [Chuck] Daly did, he split the team up East versus West. So [Charles] Barkley, Jordan, Larry Bird, [Scottie] Pippen, and Patrick Ewing all played in the East, and then we had the West guys—myself, David Robinson, [Karl] Malone, [Chris] Mullin, [Clyde] Drexler, and John Stockton.
So we would play everyday. Tie. This is the fourth day, and we got out on them about 12-2. So I said, ‘I’m going to really rattle [MJ’s] chains.’ So I went over to him, tapped him on the shoulder, and said, ‘Hey man, if you don’t turn into Air Jordan, we’re going to blow you out today.’ Jimmy, his eyes got big. Usually that tongue comes to about right here, now it’s way out.
They broke the huddle, he hit a 3, and he’s looking at me. [sticks tongue out] He came down again, hit another 3. [sticks tongue out again] So the greatest shot—now, I’ve been involved in all three of them. First, Dr. J walked out of bounds in air, reverse layup. Michael Jordan in 1991 came down on us with the right hand and tongue out, he switched in mid-air to the left, and spun it against the glass. But this was the greatest shot I had ever seen.
[MJ] came down the right side, took off, David Robinson took off, and [MJ] said, ‘Okay, I’m going to just sit here in the air, because I know David Robinson is going to go down.’ So David Robinson went to the ground, [MJ] 360’d, tongue moving, and dunked it. In a practice game! I was like, ‘Oh my goodness!’ I was just stunned. All of us were stunned to see him hang in the air that long and 360. Michael Jordan is so incredible. There will never be another one.
MJ later called the game the greatest game he was ever involved in, saying it was “the most fun I ever had on a basketball court.” Watch Jordan talk about it below.