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‘Last Dance’: LaBradford Smith knew Michael Jordan’s revenge game was coming

‘Last Dance’: LaBradford Smith knew Michael Jordan’s revenge game was coming

No, LaBradford Smith did not sardonically say, “Nice game, Mike” to Michael Jordan after notching a career-high 37 points against the Bulls on March 19, 1993. Jordan, according to Michael Wilbon in “The Last Dance,” admitted that much, himself — the Smith story was merely a self-created ruse to motivate him to torch the second-year Bullets forward in the two teams’ matchup the very next night.

In fact, Smith apparently had a hunch that a vengeful Jordan would await him by the time both teams completed their overnight trips from Chicago to Washington D.C.

“LaBradford Smith was trying to tell the reporters at postgame to not make a big deal out of it,” said Will Perdue — who, it should be noted, logged a then-career-high 17 points for the Bulls in the March 19 game — on the most recent episode of the Bulls Talk Podcast. “But because it was a career-high, they (the reporters) basically wanted him to say things. And he kinda was hoping that they would kind of brush it aside and be like, ‘Aw, heck, I got lucky.’ 

“But they wanted to make a big deal about, 'Yo, man, you scored a career high on Michael Jordan.'”

A cursory archive search found no public quotes in any Illinois-based newspaper from Smith after the game in Chicago, which the Bullets lost 104-99. But Jordan’s target had been acquired. That much was understood in the Bulls’ locker room.

“We were talking in the locker room about just, when Michael gets the ball, just get the hell out of the way,” Perdue continued. “Cause he's just gonna go at LaBradford time and time again. And it was kind of like an unwritten rule that everybody knows that Michael has that stat sheet in his back pocket, in his sock. He knows exactly how many points LaBradford scored, and he wants to get that many or more in the first half.

“He didn't make an announcement to me, nor to the team as a whole. He may have voiced a few things to guys he was closer with on the team, but that's the funny thing, it was known by everybody exactly what was going to happen.”

What happened was Jordan dropped 36 points in the first half of the second game (one point shy of his goal of 37), prodding Smith all the way. Jordan finished with 47 on 16-for-27 shooting, Smith with 15 on 5-for-12, and the Bulls won 126-101.

“He took such umbridge at a guy saying ‘Nice game, Mike’ that he torched and humiliated him in front of 20,000 people,” Wilbon said in the documentary, before adding that Jordan admitted to making up the slight.

“I remember we went out for the jump ball, the look on LaBradford Smith's face was just like one of almost utter terror,” Perdue said.

Only Michael Jordan, man.

On the latest Bulls Talk Podcast, Jason Goff, Kendall Gill, K.C. Johnson, David Watson and Perdue recap Episodes 7 and 8 of “The Last Dance,” touching on Jordan’s teammate tyranny, the legacy of James Jordan, Scottie Pippen’s greatness (and the foibles that besmudge it) and much, much more.

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Talk Podcast

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NBCA, Adam Silver speak out following George Floyd’s death and recent protests

NBCA, Adam Silver speak out following George Floyd’s death and recent protests

The National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA hereafter) and commissioner Adam Silver recently joined the chorus of voices speaking out in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

A statement from the NBCA, signed by 33 coaches and almost 180 assistant coaches, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports:

 

The statement pinpoints “police brutality, racial profiling and the weaponization of racism” as “shameful, inhuman and intolerable.”

And their call for “positive change” will reportedly be followed by some action. The NBCA has also formed a “committee on racial injustice and reform to pursue solutions within NBA cities”  Wojnarowski reports, which will be comprised of at least Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, Lloyd Pierce, David Fizdale, Stan Van Gundy, Doc Rivers, JB Bickerstaff and Quin Snyder.

Already, many in the NBA community have acted to protest systemic racism and police brutality in the wake of Floyd’s death. Stephen Jackson, Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie demonstrated with many in Minneapolis. Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to lead a peaceful march in Atlanta that also featured Malcolm Brogdon. Lonnie Walker aided in clean-up efforts after a night of protests in San Antonio. The list goes on from there.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver wrote in an internal memo to NBA employees obtained by ESPN that he was “heartened” by those “speaking out to demand justice, urging peaceful protest and working for meaningful change.” Silver also called for introspection and promised the NBA will “continue its efforts to promote inclusion and bridge divides through collective action, civic engagement, candid dialogue and support for organizations working towards justice and equality.” He expressed condolences to the Floyd family, outrage over the wrongful deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and an obligation to not ignore the issues of “racism, police brutality and racial injustice.”

As of this writing, 26 of 30 NBA teams have issued statements on Floyd’s passing, either as entities or through organization spokespeople, ranging from executives to coaches. Hopefully, the words of many lead to action — and that action to appreciable change.

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Dennis Rodman asks looters to stop, protest George Floyd killing peacefully

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USA Today

Dennis Rodman asks looters to stop, protest George Floyd killing peacefully

Dennis Rodman isn’t sugarcoating things as he calls on looters to stop the destruction across the country, and protest peacefully.

“Please, please understand we have to live together,” Rodman said in a video on TMZ. “We’re human beings. We’re not f---ing animals, we’re human beings.”

Rodman likened the protests going on today to the Los Angeles riots in 1992, and said younger generations may not have a full appreciation for how things spiraled out of control back then.

“It’s a bad situation and I think we should all understand the fact that there’s a new generation,” Rodman said in the video. “People my age all knew about the Rodney King thing, and things start to happen, people looting, setting fires, damaging people’s homes, businesses and stuff like that. Now we have this incident.

“I think someone needs to come out and say, ‘Hey guys, why are we looting? Why are we stealing? Why are we creating more issues, more problems, stuff like that?’”

Rodman elaborated that he believes these latest protests across the nation are a symptom of a larger problem, and that the country needs to address the underlying issues.

“Let’s get to the head of what’s really going on,” Rodman said. “This is a bad, bad situation. If you’re going to protest, protest in the right way. You don’t have to go and burn down things, steal things… and stuff like that.

“We’ve got enough issues with the COVID virus right now. We’ve got enough issues.”

Finally, Rodman made an emotional appeal for people to come together, not create an even wider divide.

“Why are we doing this? Why are we hurting each other again? Why not just help each other, hold each other's hands and try to solve the problem? We didn’t create this problem, but guess what, we can help. Especially the new generation, the 24/7 generation, help us as older individuals to understand this. Don’t add to it. Do not add to it. Help us, and help everybody right now.”

RELATED: Michael Jordan issues statement of solidarity in wake of George Floyd's death

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