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The One Time Michael Jordan Backed Down To A Teammate

You would have too

Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics
 BOSTON - 1991: Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls passes against Robert Parish #00 of the Boston Celtics during a game circa 1991 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 
Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images

As this article points out, Robert Parish played with both Michael Jordan and Larry Bird and so he’s in a position to comment on both players and their styles.

He wasn’t a huge fan of how Jordan did things when Jordan came after him in practice one day:

“I told him, ‘I’m not as enamored with you as these other guys. I’ve got some rings too.’ At that point he told me, ‘I’m going to kick your ass.’ I took one step closer and said, ‘No, you really aren’t.’ After that he didn’t bother me...What set Larry apart from Magic (Johnson) and Jordan was he wasn’t an in-your-face leader like they were,” Parish told MacMullan. “He had too much respect for us. If you weren’t having a good night, he was more inclined to encourage you, or not say anything at all.”

It’s a great story because as far as we know, it’s the only time that Jordan backed down.

Parish is 7-0 and played at 230 and in general was not a guy you want to mess with, as Bill Laimbeer found out in 1987 (this was in retaliation for a cheap shot Laimbeer gave earlier in that year’s playoffs. Everyone knew Boston would retaliate). Even at 44, which he was with the Bulls, he wasn’t someone you wanted to provoke.