We all know how Michael Jordan was an incurably competitive guy. But Bill Cartwright saw the worst of this side of Michael’s character.
There are few people who can claim that Michael didn’t get the best of them on the court. Through 13 seasons with the Bulls and 2 with Washington, Jordan racked up countless memorable performances against everyone he played.
But there was one problem with him – he liked to be the big boy in the playground. Things would get always be in danger of getting heated if you were practicing with him.
One of the reasons for this was that Jordan tended to be rough towards some of his teammates. In this particular case with Bill Cartwright, Jordan went way over the top, as we’ll explore.
Why Michael Jordan feuded with Bill Cartwright
Jordan was dear friends with Charles Oakley, who he was drafted with as a rookie in 1984. The Bulls traded Oakley to the New York Knicks in exchange for Bill Cartwright against his wishes.
When the Bulls began preparing for the 1988-89 season, Jordan made his frustrations with Cartwright quite clear. According to Yahoo Sports, Jordan called Cartwright “Medical Bill” during practices.
Throughout his Bulls career, MJ continued to bully him, calling him by nicknames like Medical Bill. He also fed him really fast passes into the interior with the expectation that Cartwright would drop these passes.
Bill Cartwright said he would be “Ground Jordan” because he would “break his fucking legs” if MJ ever aired him out again after singling him after a bad game.
— CJ, The Raiders Realist (@ManusBaldSpot) May 19, 2020
Despite such seemingly insurmountable differences, Jordan and Cartwright teamed up for the Bulls’ first threepeat successfully. It was a mark of the man management of Phil Jackson that these two players turned out to be a productive pairing.