Michael Jordan ticked off by encounter with George Karl prior to Game 1 vs. Sonics
In the 1996 NBA Finals, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls faced off against the Seattle SuperSonics. In Sunday’s episodes of “The Last Dance,” it was revealed that Jordan actually had a little bit more invested in this series from an emotional standpoint.
As a matter of fact, MJ was taking this series personally after then-Sonics head coach George Karl one snubbed him at a restaurant.
Jordan said he took the '96 Finals "personally" because George Karl didn't say hi to him at a dinner. pic.twitter.com/6FF8G7asxX
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That’s one way to get on Michael Jordan’s bad side. The Hall of Famer discussed in the show how the incident transpired from his point-of-view, with reporter and Jordan’s friend Ahmad Rashad also chipping in on the narrative.
“He walks right past me,” Jordan said in the show, via Bill Difilippo of Uproxx. “And I look at Ahmad and I said, ‘Really? Oh so that’s how you’re gonna play it?’”
“He just kinda went by and I went, ‘Uh oh, should’ve never done that,’” Rashad said.
“I said it’s a crock of sh*t,” Jordan said. “We went to Carolina, we know Dean Smith, I seen him in the summer, we play golf. You’re gonna do this? Ok, fine. That’s all I needed. That’s all I needed, for him to do that, and it became personal.”
In hindsight, that turned out to be a mistake made by Karl. The Sonics put up a good fight in the Finals, but in the end, it was Chicago who emerged as the champs after six hard-fought games. It is clear that Karl’s earlier attempt to play some mind games on Jordan backfired, as the latter used this as motivation to ultimately defeat Seattle.