Michael Jordan’s game in NBA was unmatched. If there is one thing that comes close to matching Jordan’’s game it is his personality and his trash talking ability. Michael is famously known as one of the best trash talkers in the game and could rip out player’s hearts while playing against them (and sometimes even on the same teams, see: Kwame Brown).
Ray Allen was asked about his first memory of Jordan and if he faced some trash talking while going up against him. It is important to know the context here. Ray Allen came into the league with a lot of fanfare. His shooting skills at that time were era defining, volume 3 point shooters in the NBA were not a common commodity. Ray Allen came to NBA after setting college record 119 made 3s in the year before.
So when Ray Allen went for his matchup against Michael Jordan, not many were expecting him to come out of that as a winner, but people were excited to see him match up against the best player in the world. Ray Allen claims to have been nervous about the game and remembers freaking out a bit when before the game Michael looked at him and asked him, “What’s up?”
“I said ‘I have to be able to do that. That has to be me someday.’ I wanted to be like Mike growing up.”
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) September 8, 2018
“I don’t think it’s a debate, I believe that Michael Jordan will be the greatest of all time.” – Ray Allen on MJ and LeBron https://t.co/NommeGZ67V
— RobertJPfeifer.com (@RobertJPfeifer) May 14, 2018
Naturally when the game began Jordan gave it his all, like he always did, but he also sledged Ray Allen albeit in a different way. Allen remembers during a time out his coach was screaming at him for his defense of Jordan and Jordan just walked up to the coach and said, “He’s doing a good job coach, he’s doing his best.”
While to most that will seem like Jordan was encouraging Ray Allen, people who know about Jordan know that he didn’t care about encouraging opponents, ever. Ray Allen laughs as he remembers the moment. He says Jordan’s words came when he had already dropped 45 points on the Bucks team that Allen was a part of. So Allen’s defense on Jordan had resulted in Jordan having scored 45 points already when he said. “He’s doing a good job coach, he’s doing his best.”
That is classic Michael Jordan. It is his way of saying to the coach that it doesn’t matter who guards Michael or how much effort he puts into it, Michael’s still going to dominate and score easily, so there’s no point yelling at a rookie for poor defense on Jordan. It might also be looked at a way to sander Allen, as he could’ve meant that the best defense Allen could play was this, where Jordan could score as and when he pleased.
While all of these mind games are difficult for other players to do, these were the bread and butter for Jordan as much as his fadeaway was. Ray Allen was just one player in the line of NBA players Jordan slandered on court throughout his NBA career. He just found unique ways to do it to all of them.