Mexican former NBA player Eduardo Najera recounted a famous tale of Michael Jordan demolishing Stephen Jackson 1v1 nearly a decade after retirement.
A journeyman NBA player, Stephen Jackson won a title with San Antonio and was also a member of a great Indiana Pacers team during his peak years. Jackson averaged as high as 20.7 points per game in one season with the Warriors, following up a 20.1 ppg season.
His best statistical year came with the Charlotte Bobcats in 2009-10. He averaged 21.1 points per game while shooting 42.3% from the field. The following year, Jackson and Najera were teammates for a season as Jackson was beginning to reach the end of his prime.
Jackson was still a valuable player as a 32-year-old in 2010-11, but he clearly was no longer at his athletic peak. Nevertheless, he would never have expected to be given the business by a retired player. Even if said retired player was one Michael Jordan.
When Stephen Jackson got taught a lesson by Michael Jordan
In the 2010-11 season, the only year Najera and Jackson played together, the latter trashtalked team owner Jordan:
“We were going through a rough patch. Michael decided to jump in and [bring Charles Oakley] on his team. Stephen Jackson, being Stephen Jackson, started talking trash. Jackson said ‘that was the past, this is now and I will bust your a**.’”
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“Michael got furious, trash-talking and killing him and all of us. [MJ is] 50 or 51. Telling Stephen Jackson ‘how does the leather taste in your mouth’ after every shot. Then it became a 1-on-1. It did not end up well for Stephen Jackson. Michael won. It was incredible. It was good for the team, we snapped out of the losing streak we had.”
While Najera claims Jordan was 50 or 51 at the time, a cursory check reveals that he can’t have been older than 48. Jackson wound his career down slowly but surely following this humiliation. He jumped ship back to the Spurs to take a bench role, making it back to the Finals in 2013.