According to Michael Jordan, talking back to the fans in the crowd will make the game feel “a lot less of a business”.
There are a lot of tempers flaring in the NBA. In the heat of the moment, players not only go at it against each other, they even vent out their frustrations on the officials, and sometimes even the fans in the stands.
Of course, after the infamous “The Malice in the Palace”, the league became stricter with the players’ and spectators’ behaviors. Hefty fines are now thrown at guilty parties without hesitation, players are handed several suspensions, and the fans are simply chucked out of the arena with bans imposed on them.
However, when the league wasn’t as stern with its policies, players were often seen verbally going back and forth with the people in the bleachers. Superstars like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson often found a boost of motivation after talking trash with the fans.
During his playing days, Jordan explained why he enjoyed these interactions with the fans, and how he promoted the fans to be “involved” in the game.
“I like talking back to the fans”: Michael Jordan
One of the most iconic player-fan trash-talking moments MJ provided us with was the time when the combo-guard dunked on Jazz center Mel Turpin and responded “Is he big enough?” to a fan who had yelled “pick on someone your own size” when Mike dunked on John Stockton.
In an interview, His Airness explained why he enjoyed trash-talking with the fans.
“I think the fans should be involved in it. There here to see the game, they here to see the entertainment and if you don’t talk back to them then it seems like you’re isolated from them and I like talking back to them. I think Magic does it and I think it’s a part of the game. I think it shows that you enjoy the game so much that you don’t feel like the game is such a business that you don’t wanna talk to people and show that you love the game.”