It started with a simple switch on defense between Wizards Center Brendan Haywood and teammate Bryon Russell, that ultimately ended with Michael Jordan having a flashback moment against Russell in practice during the 2002-03 season.

“He was 40-year-old MJ, but he looked like 25-year-old MJ that day,” Haywood recalled during a recent interview on the Wizards Talk Podcast.

As the story goes, Jordan started barking at Haywood to come guard him behind the three-point line off a pick and roll switch, which prompted Haywood to counter by saying, “Go ahead man shoot that, you’re not even a three-point shooter.”

What happened next, was vintage Jordan.

For the rest of practice, Bryon Russell was tasked with guarding the same guy, who in 1998, hit arguably the biggest game-winning shot of Jordan’s NBA career.

Yes, that iconic shot in Utah that secured the Bulls 6th NBA title in 8 years.


Now back to D.C. and the practice that promoted M.J. to go M.J. on his Wizards teammates.

After Jordan missed the three, he started to get upset. What would happen next was the stuff of legend.

According to Haywood, Michael started cooking from all over the floor against Russell.

“At that point Mike might not have missed a shot. I mean he hit fade-away, jab steps, coming off picks, one-dribble pull-ups, everything, and then to top it all off, he hits a three to end the scrimmage and stares dead at me.” 


But that’s not the end of it, Jordan saves his best trash talk for who else but Bryon Russell, who attempted to say something to MJ after the scrimmage. Haywood remembers MJ saying, “Hey man, I’m cooking you why don’t you shut up. Matter of fact, you known as the human highlight reel, not because you have any highlights of your own, but because you in all of mine.”

Haywood nearly 20 years later has finally come clean, admitting he was the reason why Michael Jordan took his frustration out on Bryon Russell.

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