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Michael Jordan Embarrassed The 1999 Chicago Bulls When He Visited The Practice Facility: "Don't Call Me Out Of Retirement Again"

Michael Jordan Embarrassed The 1999 Chicago Bulls When He Visited The Practice Facility: "Don't Call Me Out Of Retirement Again"

Michael Jordan is not only the greatest player in Chicago Bulls history but the best player in NBA history. The 6-time champion's second retirement in 1998 meant that the NBA finally had a power vacuum at the top and that the Bulls would go from being dominant to a rebuilding, young team. Many suggest the Bulls could have won more titles if MJ never retired.

One of the main young pieces of the new-look Bulls was Corey Benjamin. While the team still had old stars like Toni Kukoc and Ron Harper, Benjamin was looking to become the next franchise star. He used to joke about beating MJ in a one-on-one until MJ finally showed up to the Bulls practice facility and taught the then 20-year-old a lesson in humility. 

Corey Benjamin: Ron Harper and Dickey Simpkins were Michael’s close friends. Those guys would always talk to Jordan on the phone and Jordan would always have stuff to say. I remember there was one particular moment when MJ said something to me and I told him, ‘I can get that.’ I was saying I could beat him one-on-one. We went back and forth, talking trash with each other for a month or two. Ron gassed it up a lot like, ‘He said he can get you, Mike! He thinks he can beat you!’ One day, Mike told Ron that he was going to come to our game [in Atlanta] and he told me, ‘I’m about to come see you.’ We’re at the game and they showed Mike walking into the game [on TV] and I knew right where he was headed. I’m in the training room with Ron and Randy, and MJ walks in there. He comes right over to me and says, ‘What did you say?!’ Remember, this is my childhood hero. I man up and I say, ‘I think I can get that.’ He told me, ‘I’ll be at your practice in a few days and we’ll see if you can get that... After practice, I’m walking off the court when MJ walks into the gym. He said, ‘I’m about to give you your chance.’ As a basketball player, it was the best feeling in the world to play one-on-one against Michael Jordan in front of everybody. The score was 11-9, just to let you know. Everybody says it was 11-0 or 11-1 or 11-2. He did get up to 7-0 pretty fast and I was amazed; I had never seen anything like that in my life. But the final score was 11-9 and it was the best one-on-one game I’ve ever played. It was like a dream come true.”

Jordan trash-talked throughout the game.

“Look around you,” Jordan said at one point, looking at the six championship banners hanging in the gym. “What do you see all around you? You didn’t have anything to do with those!”

After scoring the winning basket, Jordan spanked Benjamin and yelled, “Sit down!” With a smile, Jordan added, “Don’t call me out of retirement again.” (h/t HoopsHype)

The 1998-99 Bulls Were Helpless Without Michael Jordan 

The Bulls that season were the worst team in the Eastern Conference by a good margin. They finished with a record of 13-37 in the lockout-shortened season. They had the second-worst record in the league, with only the Golden State Warriors having a worse season.

Toni Kukoc led the team but struggled to transition from being a complementary piece to the franchise guy. The young players struggled to develop with all the pressure from being a part of the legendary Bulls. The team would have a much slower rebuild than they anticipated and haven't been back to the NBA Finals since 1998.  

Michael Jordan coming back and schooling Benjamin sent a clear message to everyone in the Bulls locker room. He was the one that brought the team success, and without him, it's going to be a long road back to the top. Considering the Bulls haven't even come close since MJ made the correct point.