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#pounditWednesday, July 6, 2022

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan had fun with Mark Williams on NBA Draft night

Michael Jordan in a suit

Dec 21, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan unveils the new Charlotte Hornets logo at halftime during the game against the Utah Jazz at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Jordan is one of the most famous North Carolina Tar Heels to ever play basketball, and he made sure to needle former Duke center Mark Williams after the Charlotte Hornets drafted Williams with the 15th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

After he was selected on Thursday night, the Hornets called Williams to welcome him to the organization. Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak (also a UNC alum) was the first to congratulate Williams, telling the 20-year-old that there’d be plenty of work to do before the NBA Summer League begins.

Kupchak then handed the phone to Jordan, the team’s owner, who told Williams that he hoped that the rookie would get in the gym right away to work on his game. Before ending the call, though, Jordan managed to sneak in a subtle comment about Williams’ former school.

“Even though you’re a Dukie, I take pride in that we did draft you,” Jordan said.

Williams responded by saying that they had to “put the beef aside.”

The Duke-North Carolina rivalry will have to be set aside for now as the 7-foot-1 Williams could be a big contributor for Charlotte next season. With Montrezl Harrel facing felony drug trafficking charges for a May incident, Williams could wind up being the backup center behind Mason Plumlee.

In 39 games last season at Duke, Williams averaged 11.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game while being named the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year. At North Carolina, Jordan averaged 17.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in three seasons, and won a national title in 1982.

Michael Jordan shut down 1 prominent actor’s request to make movie about him

Michael Jordan in a suit

Dec 21, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan unveils the new Charlotte Hornets logo at halftime during the game against the Utah Jazz at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

For better or for worse, Michael Jordan has always done his own acting (see: “Space Jam,” his Nike ads with Mars Blackmon, etc.). That apparently still has not changed despite the best efforts of one award-wining actor.

Appearing this week on an episode of Complex’s “Sneaker Shopping,” actor Idris Elba revealed that he once approached Jordan about potentially portraying His Airness in a movie, only to be turned down.

“I even said to [Jordan] one time, ‘I want to play you,'” said Elba. “He was like, ‘Hmmm, I’m not ready yet.’ That’s what he said. ‘I’m not ready yet.’ I was dead serious.

“In my head, playing Jordan wouldn’t be about the basketball player,” Elba added. “It was about the businessman. He is a very astute businessman, really smart … So that’s where I was hinting at. I was like, ‘I wanna play Jordan. I’m doing that.’ He was like, ‘Ah, I’m not ready for that story yet.'”

Elba would not be a bad choice to play Jordan. He has won multiple awards during his acting career (including Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards) and is not too far behind Jordan in age (49 to Jordan’s 59).

But we know that Jordan loves to control his own narrative and already had a 2020 documentary series where he was able to do just that in ESPN’s “The Last Dance.” Thus, Jordan seems to be focused on other ventures right now (such as this possible power move for his Charlotte Hornets) instead of on a potential film collaboration in whch Elba would portray him.

Scottie Pippen has surprising remark about Michael Jordan

Scottie Pippen smiling

Jun 7, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; NBA former player Scottie Pippen before the game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors in game three of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Scottie Pippen has had nothing nice to say about Michael Jordan for the better part of two years now, but that does not mean his respect for his former Chicago Bulls teammate has evaporated entirely.

LeBron James recently responded to a question on Twitter that asked which player in NBA history he would want as a teammate for a 2-on-2 game against Pippen and Jordan. He said he would take Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving. During a recent interview with KTLA, Pippen was asked if there is any pairing he would be most concerned about facing. He confidently said “nobody.” His response to a follow-up question was more noteworthy.

Pippen was then asked if he would ever play with Jordan again “under any circumstances.”

“Yes, I would play with only Michael Jordan,” Pippen said.

Pippen and Jordan won six NBA titles together. They are widely viewed as one of the best duos in sports history, but their relationship has deteriorated over the years. There were a lot of negative things about Pippen in the popular “The Last Dance” documentary that aired two years ago, and Pippen was livid over his portrayal.

Since the documentary came out, Pippen has seemingly blasted Jordan every chance he gets. Yet, he still says he would not want any other teammate. That shows how much admiration he has for Jordan’s game and appreciation for what the two accomplished together on the court.

Warriors’ Kevon Looney quotes Michael Jordan meme after Game 6

Kevon Looney wearing a headband

Jan 6, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney (5) before their game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Kevon Looney had the game of his life in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals, and he followed it up with a direct nod to Michael Jordan.

The Golden State Warriors center collected 22 rebounds in a series-clinching win over the Memphis Grizzlies. That was easily a career-high for Looney, and his team outrebounded Memphis 70-44 in the game.

That was no coincidence. After the game, Looney said the Warriors had been beaten badly on the boards in a Game 5 loss, and the center did not miss the chance to drop a Jordan meme.

“Last game we got bullied on the boards, so I took that personally,” Looney said.

Looney is correct, of course. The Grizzlies outrebounded Golden State 55-37 in Game 5, though Memphis dominated in pretty much every department in a blowout win.

As many will know, “and I took that personally” is a paraphrased comment made by Jordan in “The Last Dance.” It is a play on Jordan’s frequency of taking perceived snubs or slights as motivational tactics.

Looney is often forgotten as a member of the Warriors’ core, but he has been their regular starter at center and occasionally pops up with hugely vital games like this. Plus, he has some pretty surprising skills. He’s very important to Golden State’s cause and should play a significant role in the Western Conference Finals, especially if they have to deal with Deandre Ayton and the Phoenix Suns.

Photo of GOAT sports legends goes viral at Miami Grand Prix

Tom Brady and Michael Jordan share a hug

The first ever Miami Grand Prix took place on Sunday, and it was one of the biggest sporting events of the calendar year. There were countless celebrities and athletes in attendance, and one photo in particular set the internet ablaze.

Tom Brady shared a photo on Twitter that showed him hanging out with Michael Jordan, David Beckham and Formula One legend Lewis Hamilton, who took part in the race.

The photo generated a huge buzz.

Brady and Jordan shared a big hug before the photo was taken. Brady posted the video on his Instagram story and called M.J. “the real (GOAT).”

The Miami Grand Prix was such a big event that Brady skipped his big Kentucky Derby trip to attend it. Hard Rock Stadium was certainly the place to be on Sunday.

Nick Saban names 2 NBA players he admires

Nick Saban in an Alabama shirt

Sep 11, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban is arguably the greatest coach in college football history. He has many admirers as a result. But even someone as widely admired as Saban has some people he admires himself.

Saban on Monday shared the names of some of the people he admires. He shared the names during the inaugural Nick Saban Legacy Award ceremony in Birmingham, Ala., which honored Steve Spurrier and Eddie Robinson.

According to Michael Casagrande, Saban mentioned some people in other professions, such the Eagles or Michael Jackson or the Rolling Stones in music.

In sports, Saban mentioned Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

“I admire Kobe Bryant. I admire Michael Jordan — guys who were dominant for a long, long time and they did it on a very consistent basis because some people can be dominant for a little while, but it takes a special someone because it’s not really human nature to try to be the best you can be. It’s human nature to survive,” Saban said via AL.com.

The ability to sustain success and greatness over a long period of time is what stands out to Saban.

“I really admire great competitors and I really admire people who are able to sustain success, whether it’s in business, whether it’s in sports or whether it’s in music. It doesn’t matter,” Saban said.

Of all Saban’s traits, his ability to maintain greatness over a prolonged period of time is perhaps his greatest achievement.

Saban has been at Alabama since 2007. After going 7-6 in his first season, he went 12-2 in his second season, including an 8-0 record in SEC play. Saban has won double-digit games in every season since 2008. He has won six championships at Alabama and seven overall. He is in his third decade pursuing excellence in college football.

Even at 70, Saban is still going as strong as ever.

H/T The Spun

Scottie Pippen has even more salty comments about Michael Jordan

Scottie Pippen smiling

Jun 7, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; NBA former player Scottie Pippen before the game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors in game three of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Scottie Pippen certainly has unflinching commitment to character when it comes to hating on Michael Jordan.

The retired Basketball Hall of Famer Pippen had some more salty comments this week about his former Chicago Bulls teammate Jordan. Pippen, who was known for his defensive prowess during his NBA career, complained that he never won a Defensive Player of the Year Award due to all of the attention that Jordan got from the media.

“I think they were too busy watching Michael,” said Pippen in an interview with TrashTalkProduction.

While the interviewer did not press Pippen further on the subject, it is pretty curious that Pippen never won DPOY during his 17-season career. Granted, Jordan only won the award once during his own career (in Pippen’s rookie season with the Bulls). Pippen did also manage to get plenty of recognition otherwise with eight total All-Defensive team selections while in Chicago.

By now, it is obvious that Pippen’s high levels of sodium color his perception of Jordan. Just a few months ago, Pippen made some other bitter comments about His Airness. There are plenty of signs as well that Pippen has torched his bridge with Jordan for good.

Ja Morant shares Michael Jordan-themed message after playoff loss

Ja Morant looking on

Jan 26, 2022; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) during the first half against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Ja Morant was not alive yet during Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls. But that is not stopping Morant from drawing inspiration from His Airness.

The Memphis Grizzlies star shared a message to Instagram this weekend after his team lost their playoff opener to Minnesota on Saturday. Morant shared a clip from ESPN’s “The Last Dance” of Jordan in the locker room speaking after a loss suffered by the Bulls at the time.

“So what, we lost one game,” Jordan says in the clip, cigar in mouth and baseball bat in hand. “Oh, it will be a dog fight tomorrow. But that’s alright. Let’s see if all that trash talking starts when it’s 0-0 instead of five, six-point lead. That’s where it starts.

“That’s the sign of a good man, if he can talk s–t when it’s even score or talk s–t when you behind [the] score,” Jordan adds. “When you’re ahead, it’s easy to talk.”

Here is the post (but beware of the bad language from Jordan in the clip).

The Timberwolves topped Morant and the Grizzlies in Game 1 of their first-round series to flip Memphis’ homecourt advantage. Now the Grizzlies will have to win on the road in Minnesota at least once to claim the series.

But the All-Star guard Morant definitely sounds ready for the type of dog fight that Jordan was talking about nearly two-and-a-half decades ago. Even Morant’s father seems to be ready for some fireworks in Game 2 of the series set for Tuesday.

Hornets looking to hire GM with major Michael Jordan ties?

Michael Jordan in a suit

Dec 21, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan unveils the new Charlotte Hornets logo at halftime during the game against the Utah Jazz at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Jordan may be pulling a page out of Jeanie Buss’ playbook on running an NBA team.

Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported this week that there is uncertainty over the future of Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak. Some NBA personnel even believe that this may have been Kupchak’s final season heading the team’s front office, Fischer adds.

The report also states that one potential frontruner to replace Kupchak, if Kupchak does decide to step away from his post, is Buzz Peterson, who was Jordan’s former roommate in college at North Carolina. Peterson has served as Charlotte’s assistant GM since 2014. Another candidate named by Fischer is current Chicago Bulls GM Marc Eversley, who began his career at Nike.

The Hornets’ season ended on Wednesday night with a loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the play-in tournament. Kupchak has been their GM since 2018, and his regime was responsible for drafting cornerstones LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges. But Kupchak will be 68 next month and has worked as an NBA executive for nearly four decades.

When it comes to Jordan, who has been Charlotte’s controlling owner since 2010, he has seemed at times to be unhappy with the team’s direction. Now he may be looking to keep it in the family with the Hornets’ next GM hire, if Kupchak does indeed choose to step down.

Shaq wants to broker peace between two infamous NBA rivals

Shaquille O'Neal on a TNT set

Shaquille O’Neal is trying for the NBA version of the Camp David Accords.

On a recent episode of his “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” the retired center great O’Neal said that he would like to produce a sitdown special between two bitter NBA rivals — Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas.

“I’m gonna try to get that produced,” said O’Neal. “A conversation between Michael and Isiah.”

The NBA sitdown, where two ex-rivals hash it out face to face and make amends, has become a popular concept in recent years. Thomas previously had one with old adversary Magic Johnson, and O’Neal himself had one with former teammate Kobe Bryant before Bryant’s passing in 2020.

That said, getting Jordan and Thomas to sit down together will be a whole different beast. The two had some of the most acrimonious battles during their respective playing careers and seemed to legitimately loathe each other. There is too, of course, the famous story about how Jordan kept Thomas off “The Dream Team” in 1992 (allegedly).

Jordan and Thomas also started to go at it again in recent years after Jordan took more shots at Thomas in ESPN’s 2020 series “The Last Dance.” If the salty comments that Thomas made right back at Jordan just this week are any indication, the two will not be breaking bread together any time soon.

H/T Fadeaway World

Photo: May 20, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Former NBA player and current TNT television personality Shaquille O’Neal prior to game one of the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports