Years ago, a young O.J. Mayo, fresh out of high school, attended Michael Jordan’s camp and immediately beginning to engage the legend in a trash-talking, on-court battle.
Jordan says he had to clear the gym of his campers to properly be able to jaw back, and taught Mayo a lesson about respecting the game’s greatest player in a one-on-one setting.
SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR THE VIDEO OF OJ MAYO VS MICHAEL JORDAN
“I’m playing in my camp against O.J. Mayo, he was a top high school kid coming out,” Jordan says. “And I had never met him. First time. In front of my camp, he starts this thing about ‘you can’t guard me, you can’t do this.’ I got my campers here, so obviously I can’t really can’t go where I want to go because I own my camp. So I stop the camp, send the kids to bed.
“We go back to playing, and he starts his whole thing ‘you can’t guard me.’ Finally I just said, ‘You may be the best high school player, but I’m the best player in the world.’ So from this point on, it’s a lesson. And from that point on, it was a lesson. He never won a game. I posted him up, I did everything.”
“I happened to be the only high school player [at the camp],” Mayo said. “It was mainly freshmen in college. So [Jordan] came on the court and he guarded me, so instantly I thought, ‘man, he must think I’m not the strong link over here.’
“I got it going a little bit. Obviously it’s any ballplayer’s dream to play against Mike. I couldn’t tell you how many times I did his move.
“I got a few buckets and I think the campers knew I was only a high school kid, so they got rowdy a little bit. We got a little bit of jawing. We played two games — it was a team game. I think we split one and one. And then he said ‘OK, now let me handle my business.’ And he looked me in my face and I said ‘whatchu mean?’
“He said ‘I need all the campers and everybody to leave. Let’s clear the gym.’ And I said ‘oh man.’”
That’s when MJ took Mayo to school.
“So we continued playing pickup, and Mike was Mike. He was jawing a little bit and really getting into me defensively. He was backing me down and said ‘you better scream for momma. Momma, momma!’” Mayo recalls Jordan chanting.
“He hit the famous fadeaway on me. So I said ‘OK, OK, you got it going.’
“And then he said, ‘Fella, let me tell you something. You may be the best high school player in the world, but I’m the greatest ever. Don’t you ever disrespect the great like that!”
Mayo reflected and explained why he had the balls to go after Jordan, or all people.
“At the end of the day people ask ‘why would you talk smack to Mike?’ At the end of the day it’s still basketball. You definitely respect everything Mike’s done for the game. But when you’re a young buck, and you get a chance to go at the top, I kind of had the mentality that I had everything to gain and nothing to lose. And Mike did what he had to do,” Mayo said with a smile.
Tales like these can often get distorted over time, but hearing Mayo’s side of the story, it seems like Jordan’s memory is as good now as his fadeaway jumper was back then.
Check out the full video of Michael Jordan teaching OJ Mayo a lesson:
Source: Larry Brown Sports