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John Salley: Charles Oakley once punched me in gut for ribbing Michael Jordan about Kobe Bryant

Michael Jordan and John Salley at Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 5: Michael Jordan (L) and John Salley hang out in the Jockey Suites at the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2007 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Jeff Gentner/Getty Images)

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John Salley won two championships with the Bad Boys Pistons (whom Michael Jordan still loathes). Salley then joined Jordan’s Bulls and won another championship. Finally, Salley won a title with the Lakers featuring Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant (who emulated Jordan).

Salley was at the center of so much.

Especially at the Kentucky Derby.

Salley told the story of being at Churchill Downs with Dave Chappelle, Chris Tucker and Julius Erving then seeing Jordan and Bryant.

Salley on “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” on ESPNews, as produced by Mike Ryan:

Off to the right is Charles Oakley, who, if you don’t know, is Michael’s security guard forever and didn’t like me.

So, I look at Michael, and I said, “Wait, at 27 years old” – whatever, 27 – I put my hand on Michael’s shoulder, and I go, “At 27 years old, young boy would have given you the business.”

And out of the blue, Charles Oakley comes and punches me in the stomach. But I mean the way he wanted to hit Dolan. Not the way he was pushing the security guard. He unleashed on me, Dan. And I saw it at the last second and tightened up a little bit. He knocked all the air out of me.

And Dave Chappelle said, “This is the only time I wish I still had my show. This is a scene.”

And Michael is like, “No, come on Charles. You know Sal is crazy. He’s just joking. He’s just joking.”

He’s like, “I don’t like when he talks that stuff to you.” He’s been wanting to hit me since the 80s. But, man, he hit me with everything he could.

I had a suit on, too. And I wasn’t going to stand back up and fight him. I’m a karate man. I bruise on the inside.

What a story!