Metta World Peace once broke Michael Jordan’s ribs during summer pickup game

Metta World Peace once broke Michael Jordan’s ribs during summer pickup game

You know that Michael Jordan returned from his second retirement for a late-career spell with the Wizards from 2001-03 — even if “The Last Dance” didn’t tell you.

But did you know that Jordan spent the summer leading up to his return playing in pickup games with NBA stars on the (relative) low as he plotted a return? And, in one of said games, Jordan sustained multiple broken ribs at the hands of Metta World Peace (then Ron Artest), slightly delaying his impending comeback?

Appearing on the Scoop B Radio Podcast hosted by Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, World Peace recounted playing in the game in question, and regretfully conceded that he was the culprit of Jordan’s injury — while also noting that he drew a charge on the play that caused it (yes, Jordan enlisted referees). One can only imagine how competitive those runs were.

“It was a mistake. Actually I’m not going to tell you it was a mistake, it was really aggressive basketball,” World Peace told Scoop. “You got to think how strong Mike is and how competitive Mike is and when we were tangling over each other in the post in the summertime, I tried to move his arm out the way and accidently hit him with my elbow…

“I definitely didn’t mean to hit him in the ribs, but I was really aggressive; whatever I had to do to deny Mike. I remember the play clear as day — I actually got the offensive foul called against Mike. I also hit the ball and got an offensive foul on him. He had refs in the summertime. Which is (a) really good play for me because it was a great defensive play. But I hurt his ribs and I was like, really sad for a couple of days. You know, I really didn’t like that.”


This was the summer after World Peace’s second season in the NBA and with the Bulls. He said on the podcast that he remembered the game taking place at Hoops the Gym on the West Side of Chicago.

Reports from the time confirm the principles of World Peace’s story. By that summer, it was well known that Jordan, who then served as the president of basketball operations for the Wizards, wanted to make an NBA return — in fact, he’d reportedly shed 30 pounds in three months of training in an attempt to get back down to his playing weight.

But on June 20, 2001, The Daily Herald reported that Jordan broke two ribs in the aforementioned game, which also featured the likes of Charles Barkley, Antoine Walker, Nazr Mohammed, George McCloud and A.J. Guyton. Jamal Crawford was watching from the sideline. 

In announcing the news of Jordan’s injury, Wizards coach Doug Collins projected a six-to-eight week recovery timeline but relayed that Jordan viewed the setback as minor.

How minor? Well, World Peace had apparently requested to guard Jordan, but told the Daily Herald afterwards he wasn’t sure if he was the one that had broken his ribs because Jordan didn’t noticeably react to the blow. Classic.

“I’m not sure what happened,” he told the Herald at the time. “I was just guarding him. I was just trying to get position because he was posting me up. I don’t even recall him stopping for a brief second. Mike probably won’t show any pain."

Now, we can tie a bow on this story for good. Jordan made his second return official by signing with the Wizards on Sep. 25 of that year. World Peace was traded to the Indiana Pacers midway through the 2001-02 season, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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Monte Harrison, brother to Bulls' Shaq, makes sibling sports history

Monte Harrison, brother to Bulls' Shaq, makes sibling sports history

Miami Marlins center fielder Monte Harrison made a bit of history on Aug. 4, when he laced up for his first ever MLB game.

With his debut, he and older brother Shaq officially became just the sixth MLB-NBA brother duo in league history. The most recent? Klay and Trayce Thompson, the latter of which appeared in his last MLB game on June 20, 2018 for the White Sox. Chicago ties all around.

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Shaq used his trademark brand of heart and hustle to work his way up from two 10-day contracts with the Phoenix Suns to a multi-year pact with the Bulls. Monte's path to the majors began in 2014 after the Milwaukee Brewers plucked him in the second round of the Amateur Draft from Lee's Summit West High School in Lee's Summit, Mo. He was jettisoned to Miami as part of the Christian Yelich trade in 2018. 

In 2019, Monte played 58 games between Miami's Class A and AAA affiliates, slashing .270/.351/.441 with 9 home runs, 24 RBI and 23 stolen bases. He's been known to flash some leather, too, and entered this season the club's tenth-ranked prospect.

Since his call-up, he's appeared in four contests (three starts) with the Marlins, and is just 1-for-10 at the plate with five strikeouts. But we'll forgive some early-career stumbles. His first big-league base-knock, which came on Thursday, was perfectly emblematic of what Bulls fans have come to expect from the Harrison household.

Yup. A cue-shot infield single. Exit velocity: 44.3 mph. Expected batting average: .190. But he beat it out. And followed it up with a stolen base. You can't script this stuff.

"I don’t know what my mother did, a lot of prayers, a lot of believing, and trust in us," Monte said after his debut on Tuesday, via Bob Nightengale. "We just worked our ass off.''

That much is evident.

RELATED: How Bulls’ Shaq Harrison impacts games, even with limited playing time


Latest on the NBA's second bubble for teams eliminated from restart

Latest on the NBA's second bubble for teams eliminated from restart

With the NBA restarting with 22 of its 30 teams, there was buzz in early July of a second bubble coming to Chicago for the eight teams excluded to get in organized team activities and possibly scrimmages.

Now, it appears those talks have significantly slowed, if not stalled entirely.

The Athletic reported Tuesday that there is "significant doubt" the second bubble concept will come to fruition, but Friday, that bringing the "Delete Eight" teams into the Disney campus has been discussed. Any agreement — whether it be a full-on bubble or respective, in-market OTAs — would require stringent safety protocols and need to be agreed upon by the league and NBPA.

On the most recent episode of the Bulls Talk Podcast, NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson broke down the latest scuttlebut:

Well, the latest is, you really got only one shared goal between these eight teams and that is to get some kind of formal group activities authorized by the league and the players association.

How that plays out and the form that takes, there are different goals. There are some teams that wouldn't mind doing a bubble. There are other teams that would rather stay in their own practice facilities and not travel. There are other teams that want to do regional scrimmages against another team. And complicating this is that Michele Roberts, the executive director of the players association, is on record as saying: Unless there are the exact same safety protocols going on in Orlando for the second bubble, it's a non-starter for her.

The league's attention mostly has been in Orlando, obviously, and that was a signficant financial undertaking. So you'd also have to factor in that, what kind of financial undertaking would they commit to these eight teams. It did look like there was some positive momentum for, not a bubble, but for each team to be able to hold some sort of offseason training sessions, group sessions in their own facilities, like OTAs in the NFL.

And I don't think that's dead, but there's certainly not as much optimism as there was maybe a week, ten days ago for that. I mean, it's fluid, and there's nothing definitive yet, but you may be staring at that dreaded eight month window between formal group activities for these eight teams. 

In the episode, the crew also breaks down the week in NBA bubble action, talks Jim Boylen and more. Listen here or via the embedded player below: