Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time, and while that statement could be up to debate, the fact that no one remembers Bryon Russell today isn’t.
Russell handled the ‘Jordan Stopper – if there’s such thing’ for the Utah Jazz every time they faced off with the Chicago Bulls. Needless to say, His Airness often got the best of him, including his epic last shot to give the Bulls their second three-peat in 1998.
That’s why things got a little awkward when Russell and Jordan became teammates in the Washington Wizards in 2002. Apparently, Bryon Russell always wanted to guard Michael in practice to prove that he could stop him.
Obviously, that didn’t suit well for the ultimate competitor and trash-talker and according to Russell himself, Jordan once destroyed him with an epic line:
“Man, stop trying to guard me. You’re known as the ‘Human Highlight Film,’ not because of your own, but because you’re always in mine,” Jordan told him, as quoted by Inside Buzz by Mikey Domagala.
Oh man, MJ, you didn’t have to do him like that. It wasn’t enough to beat him in the NBA Finals with arguably the most iconic shot in NBA history. He had to go for the kill.
It’s clear that Bryon Russell still holds a lot of grudges towards number 23. In fact, he and Karl Malone were the only two players who refused to make an appearance in ‘The Last Dance’, which is the ultimate proof of how much he hates him. I mean, even Isiah Thomas, Gary Payton, and John Stockton were in it.
Russell should be really thankful to Jordan. He did immortalize him and will always be featured in the most epic moments of NBA history, even if he’s not at the end of the play he’d like to be.