Magic Johnson said he only talked trash once in his 13-year NBA career. He chose Michael Jordan as his lone target, and he immediately regretted it.
The legendary tale happened in the summer of 1992 when both players were practicing for team USA in preparation for the Olympics. In one of their four initial scrimmages, coach Chuck Daly split the players according to the conferences they played in. This meant both guys played on different teams since Jordan played for the Chicago Bulls and Magic played for the Los Angeles Lakers.
So, at this point, it’s basically an All-Star game where defense will actually be played. In the early part of the game, Magic’s team held a 12-2 lead and the East team calls a timeout. Since Magic Johnson’s team was ahead, he decided to give Jordan a dose of his own medicine.
He tapped him on the shoulder and said: “Hey man, if you don’t turn into Air Jordan, we’re going to blow you out today.”
According to Magic, right after he said those words to Jordan, his eyes lit up. When they broke the huddle, Jordan kept scoring and hit four consecutive threes.
But Magic said that wasn’t even the most impressive part. He said on one play, Jordan hung in the air for so long that David Robinson already touched the ground trying to block his shot before doing a 360 dunk.
It’s a shame there was never any evidence of this highlight because Magic Johnson said it was one of the greatest shots he’d ever seen. That’s saying a lot since he was also there when Jordan hit the up and under left-handed layup in the Finals and for Julius Erving’s reverse layup.
Jordan’s trash talk didn’t end there. When Magic and Larry Bird went back to their hotel rooms, Jordan walked in smoking a cigar and said:
“I just want you to know, there’s a new sheriff in town.”
He was right. After the 1992 Olympics Bird retired, and Magic was forced to retire due to HIV. Meanwhile for Jordan, he’d win the NBA championship four more times in the next six years.