Michael Jeffrey Jordan has been retired from the game of basketball for over a decade now, but stories from his time in the NBA continue to be a topic of discussion.
It seems like, every month, there's someone new talking about Michael and sharing some amazing thing they saw him doing or saying.
In an appearance on "Club Shay Shay," former NBA All-Star Metta Sandiford Artest (formerly known as Metta World Peace) became the latest to share his MJ story.
Back in 2001, Artest was involved in an incident with a then-38-year-old Jordan. During the practice, Artest actually broke some ribs of the Chicago superstar, exploding into what was a huge story at the time.
Jordan did end up missing some time due to the whole ordeal, and Artest would talk about it several times in the years that followed.
“When Jordan got the ball, he would always score,” Artest said to Yahoo! Sports in 2018. “So, the one time, I moved his arm out of the way so I could get in front. The referee blows the whistle, calls an offensive foul on Michael Jordan, and in the meantime, I hit him in the ribs, by mistake, and I accidentally broke his ribs. Something that I’m not happy about, but Michael, after he broke his ribs, came back down, hit the game-winning shot and then he left.”
Well, face-to-face with Shannon Sharpe, Artest spoke about that night again, this time providing a little more detail on what went down.
“What happened was, we was in a game, and MJ asked me to come back, because I was 19 years old, but really competitive. He was like guard me, guard me. I was still really strong. At that time, MJ was killing. When I broke his ribs, he sat out three months came back averaging 25. And I was telling people, if it wasn’t for those three months off, he was 38. He was killin em. And you talkin about all-stars in the gym. That was one year after he retired. And he was cooking.
So when I was guarding MJ, I was just like, I can’t let him get the ball. He’s so strong, he holds you, so I saw I’m like, I can’t let him get the ball. Get yo arms out the f*in way. And my elbow hit him in the ribs.”
A few things here.
First, it's got to be a crazy feeling knowing that you broke the ribs of your favorite All-Time player. While Artest was old enough to share the court with Jordan, he was young enough to grow up idolizing the icon during his run in the 80s and 90s. It had to have been surreal to be the guy to end up sidelining him for weeks during that last stretch of his career.
Secondly, for Jordan to come back and be such a beast that season (at 35+ years old) is truly impressive. Of course, we can't forget that Jordan was strong enough to nail those free throws in the very same game Artest broke his ribs. Those shots would end up icing the game for the Wizards.
“Damn MJ is nice," Artest would later say.
While Jordan's time in D.C. is often glossed over, this is one story that proves he was still the player everyone knew and loved.
Even with his body slowing down, his heart, grit, and toughness did not shake.