It happened on a hot summer day in 2001, in complete secrecy.
Michael Jordan would later attempt a comeback to the NBA at age 38, but he had to workout with players from the league to see if he could still play at a high level. During a highly competitive match-up, a little trash talking and a bruised ego led to a scary incident
Jordan came down the lane, and young Bulls player Metta World Peace, known as Ron Artest at the time, was standing there waiting. Artest slammed him to the floor because he couldn't quite get the edge, and accidentally broke Jordan's ribs in the process.
That was the story given at the time, with no real verifiable sources from the Chicago Tribune's Sam Smith.
According to Metta World Peace, that's not what happened at all. He discussed what really went down in an interview with Molly Qerim.
So I was in a summer gym. R. Kelly would be there sometimes with Jordan, (Charles) Barkley was there sometimes with a lot of other NBA players. It was really good games, tougher than NBA games — rough, tough competition. And Jordan was posting me up. So I was trying to deny him because when Jordan gets the ball, there's nothing you can do. He's going to score. So I was trying to deny him and then he was like holding me, so I kind of tried to lift his arm up with my right hand and I accidentally hit him in the ribs with my elbow and then I accidentally broke his ribs.
That actually made Jordan more obsessive about his workouts, despite warnings by trainer Tim Grover that he could overdo it. Jordan told Grover to do his job, and get him ready for the season, and Jordan was able to make his comeback to the NBA on schedule.
Jordan averaged 22 points per game that year and likely would've taken the Wizards to the playoffs if not for a bum knee that required surgery. World Peace even insists Jordan could've averaged 30 points per game from what he saw in the gym, and says he regrets being the person who broke Jordan's ribs.
That hurt me a lot because I'm an MJ fan, I love Jordan. For me to be part of something like that, that (will) stick with me for a long time.
World Peace also said he later called Jordan to apologize, only for Jordan to tell him not to worry about it.
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