Magic Johnson Admits That Once — and Only Once — He Dared to Trash-Talk Michael Jordan


The Dream Team from 1992 is the stuff of sports legend. It’s a virtual Who’s Who of NBA Hall of Famers who all coalesced to win gold at the Summer Olympics in dominating fashion, often referred to as, “the greatest collection of basketball talent on the planet.”

It’s also — as Magic Johnson revealed to Jimmy Kimmel Thursday night — when the former Laker great trash-talked Michael Jordan for the first, and only, time.

“I never talked trash, but one time in my entire life,” Johnson told the host of Jimmy Kimmel Live. “First ever time, ever, talking trash,” he said, came when head coach Chuck Daly split the practice squad up by NBA conference: East v. West.

Fans of the Dream Team will recognize the breakdowns from their NBA rosters at the time: players like Jordan, Charles Barkley, Larry BirdScottie Pippen, and Patrick Ewing on one practice team, while Johnson on the West was joined by guys like “The Admiral” David Robinson, Karl Malone, Chris Mullin, and Clyde Drexler.

After taking a big lead in the scrimmage, Johnson decided, “I’m gonna really rattle his cage,” and provokingly taunted His Airness directly.

“Hey man, if you don’t turn into Air Jordan, we ‘gon blow you out today,” he recounted telling the Chicago Bulls star. What happened next is a surprise to exactly no one even remotely familiar with the game of basketball: Jordan took over, dominating the rest of the game.

Johnson mentioned that one of Jordan’s shots in that scrimmage was one of the top three shots he’d ever seen, describing the 360 acrobatics that Jordan engaged in to stun his Dream Team teammates — all the while, sticking his tongue out, of course.

“I was stunned. All of us — just stunned,” Johnson said.

Watch the above video from Jimmy Kimmel Live.

[image via screengrab]

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