Back in June 2011, a few months before Michael Jordan came outta retirement for the third time and joined the Wizards, someone broke his ribs during a pickup game in Chicago.
Apparently, that person was Metta World Peace, reports the Chicago Tribune.
The report said it happened as the result of a fight between MJ and World Peace, who went by Ron Artest at the time.
“It’s being said that Jordan was in full trash-talk mode that day. He had been telling Antoine Walker of the Celtics to count on four losses to the Wizards next season, and he was hitting jump shots in the face of Artest and taunting Artest about his time with the Bulls and was getting personal. The story is that Artest stayed back in the lane, and then when Jordan came in the next time, Artest grabbed him and slammed him to the floor. That’s supposedly when the ribs were broken,” reads the report.
“Artest is also said to have thrown a punch at Jordan afterward. Word is the participants were sworn to secrecy or wouldn’t be allowed back in the private gym near Jordan’s West Side restaurant. Who knows if it’s true, but it certainly sounds more realistic than the story Jordan has been telling.”
While both men have been quiet about the incident for 15 years, World Peace was asked about the situation recently… and told his side of the story, saying there was no fight.
“I was in a summer gym. R. Kelly would be there sometimes, Jordan, Barkley was there a couple times, and a lot of other NBA players,” he explained. “There were some really good games — tougher than the NBA games, real tough competition. And Jordan was posting me up. So I was trying to deny him, because when Jordan gets the ball, there was nothing you could do. He was gonna score. So I was trying to deny him and he was holding me, so I kind of tried to lift his arm up with my right hand and I accidentally hit him in the ribs with my elbow. And I accidentally broke his ribs.”
World Peace goes on to say that he felt bad after it happened. “After his ribs broke, he had to take off three months. That season, he averaged 25 [points per game] and I always felt like, if that would have never happened, he would have averaged about 35. He was looking so good. He had to take off three months and still averaged 25 points (MJ actually averaged 22.9 PPG that season). That hurt me a lot because I’m an MJ fan. I love Jordan. I love his defense more than his offense, and for me to be a part of something like that, that stuck with me for a long time.”
Watch the interview below. At the 3:30 mark, he talks about the MJ incident.