Michael Jordan was not lying when he said he beat OJ Mayo badly at his basketball camp years ago.
Jordan gave an interview to promote the release of NBA 2K14, and the interview received attention on Tuesday. During the interview, Ahmad Rashad asked MJ about how much trash he talked during his career. Jordan said he didn’t trash talk unless he personally knew the player, and he also said he usually let his game do his talking. The line of questioning led Jordan to recall a great story.
According to Jordan, current Milwaukee Bucks player OJ Mayo attended his basketball camp as a high schooler. Mayo was considered the top high schooler in the country and a player who could make the jump straight to the NBA if the league hadn’t changed its rules. Mayo was feeling cocky and kept trash talking Jordan, so Jordan decided to send his campers to bed so he could play Mayo and teach the young player a lesson.
A tipster who was at the camp emailed LBS to confirm the story.
“When I read the story and saw the MJ interview on your site, I quickly realized I had witnessed and recorded MJ’s story. It was surprising how accurate MJ’s memory was too,” our tipster said.
The video above is recorded from the night Jordan schooled Mayo at his basketball camp at UCSB. Our tipster believes the year was 2006 (Mayo graduated high school in ’07). Our tipster says other players on the court that day included future NBAers Jerryd Bayless, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Jared Dudley, Coby Karl and Julian Wright.
In the video, the first clip is from a game Jordan played in front of the whole camp. After that clip comes four highlights from the game where Jordan taught Mayo the lesson. You can see Jordan beat Mayo in every way possible in the game.
First Jordan posts up the high schooler and easily scores on him with a jumpshot in the paint. Then he drives by Mayo and makes a layup in traffic. After that MJ takes a pass and makes a beautiful layup under the basket. Then for the final bucket of the night, Jordan gets a rebound and works Mayo the entire way down the court, baseline to baseline. He swished in his famous fadeaway jumper over Mayo to end the night, according to our tipster. After MJ’s fadeaway swished in, the legend walked off the court with a huge smile on his face and took a seat along the sidelines knowing he just put the young pup in his place.
Mayo at least admitted on Twitter Tuesday that Jordan “got the best of me.”
You don't talk trash unless you doin some work!!! Lol #onmyMOMMA
— OJ Mayo (@JuiceMayo32) October 1, 2013
Also I have the Tape!!! #onmyMOMMA lol he got the best of me (of course) but please believe that I made him turnUp!! Lol
— OJ Mayo (@JuiceMayo32) October 1, 2013
Mayo also told his version of the story in an interview with Bucks TV on Wednesday. Mayo admitted that Jordan worked him that night.
“I happened to be the only high school player [at the camp],” Mayo said. “It was mainly freshmen in college. So [Jordan] came on the court and he guarded me, so instantly I thought, ‘man, he must think I’m not the strong link over here.’ I got it going a little bit. Obviously it’s any ballplayer’s dream to play against Mike. I couldn’t tell you how many times I did his move.
“I got a few buckets and I think the campers knew I was only a high school kid, so they got rowdy a little bit. We got a little bit of jawing. We played two games — it was a team game. I think we split one and one. And then he said ‘OK, now let me handle my business.’ And he looked me in my face and I said ‘whatchu mean?’
“He said ‘I need all the campers and everybody to leave. Let’s clear the gym.’ And I said ‘oh man.’”
That’s when MJ taught Mayo the lesson.
“So we continued playing pickup, and Mike was Mike. He was jawing a little bit and really getting into me defensively. He was backing me down and said ‘you better scream for momma. Momma, momma!’” Mayo recalls Jordan chanting.
“He hit the famous fadeaway on me. So I said ‘OK, OK, you got it going.’
“And then he said, ‘Fella, let me tell you something. You may be the best high school player in the world, but I’m the greatest ever. Don’t you ever disrespect the great like that!”
Mayo reflected on the night and explained why he had the gall to go after Jordan.
“At the end of the day people ask ‘why would you talk smack to Mike?’ At the end of the day it’s still basketball. You definitely respect everything Mike’s done for the game. But when you’re a young buck, and you get a chance to go at the top, I kind of had the mentality that I had everything to gain and nothing to lose. And Mike did what he had to do,” Mayo said with a smile.
So what made Mayo have so much confidence? Perhaps it was this dunk he made when the teams were competing, before Jordan cleared out the gym to school the young buck.