There aren’t many activities on planet earth more competitive than NBA basketball.
Since its inception in 1946, the league has provided fans with countless battles, fierce rivalries, and intense showdowns between some of the best athletes in history.
But there are times when admiration trumps the competitive spirit, as was the case for one of Karl Malone’s former Jazz teammates, Antoine Carr.
As the story goes, Carr wanted Jordan to sign a pair of kicks for his son in the middle of the 1997 playoff series. According to Malone, it’s something that still bugs him to this day…
“I’m still pissed that I had a teammate that just had a newborn son and he bought (shoes) and he sent the shoes over for MJ to sign,” Malone said recently on The Players Tribune podcast.
“You know what Michael did? Like a O.G. should do: we’ll kick your a** in (Game 4). He played like sh*t, we beat them but I was still pissed the rest of the series. You can do that sh*t in your offseason. This motherfuc*er is over here kicking our ass, and you want his autograph for your son? I think the world of him, and I respect that teammate to this day, but it was Antoine Carr. I am pissed off about that still.”
Usually, the NBA playoffs are a time when players are feeling extra edgy and competitive. But, for Carr, the idea of having Jordan sign some sneakers for his newborn son was just too good of an opportunity to pass up.
It really goes to show how admired Jordan was, both as a player and as a man.
Even amid complete dominance, his opponents were asking for autographs.
Chicago Bulls beat Utah Jazz 4-2 in the 1997 NBA Finals, and Michael Jordan won the Finals MVP award. Next season, Michael Jordan beat the Utah Jazz again, and that was the last time for both teams to play in the NBA Finals.