Michael Jordan must have a selective memory. Or maybe he was just trying to be a strong role model for the kids at his basketball camp. After all, the NBA has tried to clean up its act since the Jordan Era, which was rife with fights breaking out between players on the court. What kind of mentor would MJ be if he was bragging about beating up a teammate to these impressionable kids?
Whatever the reason, His Airness denied a claim that he punched former Bulls teammate Steve Kerr during a tension-filled practice in 1995 while doing a Q&A session with his campers in Santa Barbara earlier this week.
Let’s check the footage.
For those of you who are hard of hearing, Jordan’s answer went like this:
“Did I ever hit Steve Kerr? Not that I remember. I think he kind of ran into me first. I don’t think I hit him, he kind of ran into me.” – Michael Jordan
Get Your Story Straight
This incident between Jordan and Kerr is well documented from various firsthand sources. Former Bulls coach Phil Jackson mentions it in his book Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success. Kerr himself has talked about the fight, confirming it did happen but insisting it helped strengthen their relationship. Bill Wennington, another member of the late ’90s threepeat team and current Bulls radio color commentary guy, also remembers the skirmish happening. He praised Kerr for not running away from the fight.
Then there’s Jordan, who’s also shared his recollection of his fight with the Bulls’ three point specialist. In an interview with Michelle Beadle for her segment “Most Misunderstood Sports Stories”, MJ recounted the fight itself and the aftermath.
Check out Jordan’s version of the story below.
There you have it. Jordan “whacked him in the eye.” The GOAT did express his remorse, even calling up Steve later that day to apologize.
So…why deny the fact that this fight happened when taking questions at his basketball camp? I’m sticking with the role model hypothesis. What other explanation is there for denying something that everyone knows to be true?
No matter. That MJ-Kerr fight brought those two, and the whole team, closer together. They went on to set the NBA record for wins in a regular season, going 72-10 on their way to the franchise’s 4th title. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a Kris Dunn vs Cameron Payne fight in training camp to light a spark under this rebuilding roster. Though somehow I doubt that would have the same effect.