Posted October 03, 2013

Jordan dominates a trash-talking Mayo in high school: ‘Better scream for mama’

Ben Golliver, Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan, Milwaukee Bucks, O.J. Mayo
(Charlotte Observer/Getty Images)

Michael Jordan once taught O.J. Mayo a valuable lesson at a basketball camp. (Charlotte Observer/Getty Images)

O.J. Mayo is willing to admit it: When he was one of the most sought-after high school players in the country, he made the mistake of talking trash to Michael Jordan at the Bulls legend’s summer camp, and the Greatest Of All Time made him eat his words.

“Better scream for mama,” Mayo remembers Jordan telling him, as the Hall of Famer proceeded to knock down turnaround jumpers in his face.

Jordan recently revealed in a promotional video interview for the “NBA 2K14″ videogame that he stopped the action at one of his summer camps to deal with a yapping Mayo, who was first profiled in Sports Illustrated in 2005 when he was a 17-year-old sophomore. Already several years into his retirement and well past his 40th birthday at the time of the exchange, Jordan described clearing the gym of bystanders so that he could teach the teenaged Mayo “a lesson” about respecting his elders.

Was Jordan’s story a fisherman’s tale? Not at all, according to Mayo, who is now 25 and about to enter his first season with the Bucks after signing a three-year, $24 million contract this summer.

In a Bucks.com video interview, Mayo confirms all of the pertinent details of Jordan’s story, and adds some incredible touches. Here’s Mayo’s version, in full.

“Well, I happened to be the only high school player there. It was mainly freshmen in college. [Jordan] came on the court, he guarded me, so instantly I was like, 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 after the Finals, the next day at the rec center and stuff. I got a few buckets. The campers knew I was the only high school kid so they got rowdy a little bit, we got a little bit of jawing. We played two games, I think we split one and one, it was a team game.

“Then he said, ‘OK, now let me handle my business.’ He looked me in my face and said that. I’m like, ‘What you mean?’ So he said, ‘I need all the campers and everybody to leave the gym.’

“We continued playing pick-up. Mike was Mike. He was jawing a little bit, really getting into me defensively. He’s backing me down. He said, ‘Better scream for mama. Mama. Mama.’ Hit the famous fadeaway on me. I said, ‘OK, OK, you’ve got it going.’

“He said, ‘OK, young 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.’

“At the end of the day, people ask, ‘Why would you talk smack to GOAT? 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. Mike did what he had to do.”

Jordan’s version of the story noted that it was the first time he had ever met Mayo, who would later play one year at USC before he was selected by the Timberwolves with the No. 3 pick in the 2008 draft (and promptly traded to the Grizzlies). After stopping the camp to “send the kids to bed,” Jordan recalled what happened next.

“Finally, I just said, ‘Look dude, you might 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. If I can ever show you that film or you can ask him that, ask him about the thing that happened at my camp. I don’t consider that trash [talk], I consider that fact. You call it trash.”

LarryBrownSports.com unearthed footage of Jordan and Mayo going at it during the camp, which according to the site took place in either 2005 or 2006 (making Jordan either 42 or 43 years old at the time). The video shows Jordan backing down Mayo, as both players remembered, among other highlights.

Seven or eight years later, and Jordan is still dunking at age 50, still talking trash to the likes of LeBron James, and still in a place where renowned trainer Tim Grover is willing to consider the possibility that his former client could still play in the NBA.

“If he decided to [come back], his skills, when he was playing, were so high, from practicing over and over again,” Grover told SI.com in April. “He was able to do things, it became instinctive. He played off of pure instincts and in the zone all the time because his skills were so good. Do you lose that? No, you don’t lose that. You get practicing back out there, that stuff comes back. The part that’s going to be difficult in coming back would be making sure the body could hold up and do some of the stuff that it used to do at the same level. That’s the big variable.”

Video via YouTube user LBSNUTSCOM

25 comments
6marK6
6marK6

Nothing for nothing, but I grow tired of story ten million about how this guy is a great basketball player. Congratulations, as you move towards your later years, you are remembered for one and only one thing, you were great at playing a game. Tremendous!

StephenBartos
StephenBartos

It appears to me that every thinks Michael Jordan is the NBA God. I'll admit that he is a great player,but give credit where credit is due.Has anybody ever watched Dr.J. but me.I think Jordan learned a few things from Dr.J.Of coarse he's not going to admit it.Watch a few highlights,and see for yourself.

Buck2
Buck2

get some treatment that Peyton Manning received in Germany and MJ can play into his 70s.

dinohealth
dinohealth

Michael would have been 8/8 if he wasn't messing-around with a bat for almost two NBA seasons, right smack in the middle of the two, three-peats!  THE, ALL-TIME NBA, MAN, had to step away/lost some basketball focus, for personal reasons (his dad), and I have always understood that.  I do not think that anyone believes that the Rockets would have had those two championships if THE GOAT was around the windy city...People/two-bit hypers talk about LBJ being a better all-around player.  You have to be kidding!  THE GOAT made stars of everyone around him! All-offense, all-defense, all-playmaker, all-clutch, and, if he ever needed to get an offensive rebound, unstoppable; he did not bother pulling it in, he slammed it home, practically, from anywhere on the court!  (OK, that is a bit of a hyperbole).  Skill sets?  Team player? Forget about it, even if LBJ gets 12 rings, there is no comparison.  THE GOAT would find a way to beat you, even if he had to assist/make Steve Kerr a hero (who, at the time, was dealing with his own, great, personal loss)! By the way, of the countless, prototypical, inventive, ways he found to win/beat you, passing up the shot in favor of Kerr, is my all-time favorite GOAT play; it epitomizes why I think he is not only the GOAT, but, also, the GOATMVP!  The GOAT team selection starts with Michael Jordan! As for personal charisma, marketing, forget it, THE MAN could, and, still, can, light-up and fill every, remotely-loving, basketball-heart throughout the world! Only Ali and Pele have that type of timeless world-wide appeal, and, fittingly, they are the world-wide GOATs of their sports (boxing and soccer)!  Even, today, when he talks trash for fun, the GOAT, fills-up the screen, and, the world pays attention/listens! Frankly, people can't get enough of his greatness!  Stay healthy, MJ, and, just for fun, you might want to lace them up, for a few minutes, one more time, not only for your young fans (still), but, also, for us middle/golden-agers out here!  Kinda like your place in history, transcending all age(s)!  Gotta feel for Kobe, though, if you should chose to do that.  That would be another few points he would have to get!  lol  :-)

ElvisHitler
ElvisHitler

Michael Jordan is a compulsive gambler and was and probably still is a steroid abuser. Have you seen his yellow eyes? That's a definite tell tale sign of years of steroid abuse.

x72
x72

LBJ would truck MJ, now and in high school.

x72
x72

Nice job tarnishing your legacy Mike. Now when the PEDs story comes out it will really hit the fan.

Baconpizza
Baconpizza

Impressive, Michael.  Makes me want to post a 6th grader up and tell the world about it.

DavidHarte
DavidHarte

We saw Jordan come back, in Washington, and it was painful to watch.  Not quite Willie Mays with the Mets, but close.

Better to walk away.  Tell stories.  Become a myth.


ezwriter69
ezwriter69

OJ has exactly the same game now that he did then... a man among boys in high school, a true great, but against men, not so much. Good solid pro, to be fair has developed defensively, but nothing the least bit special as it turned out.

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

@ElvisHitler why so much hate for MJ - lol  hes the greatest player ever... until maybe lebron gets a few more rings.  Lets just bask in some 90s highlights

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

@x72  Im a huge LeBron fan... but no.... I think the game would be close - but "truck?"  You must not have watched that much late 80s-early 90s basketball, my friend

John291
John291

@x72 LBJ is a basketball player. MJ was an artist.

sulgorae
sulgorae

@Baconpizza THIS exactly.  If any 40 year old with an able body and pro basketball experience is unable to post up a high school point guard -- that would be news.

John291
John291

@Baconpizza Yeah, man, totally. I actually thought the same thing back in the day. I posted up Shawn Kemp when he was in 6th grade. He dunked on me though.

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

@DavidHarte averaging 20 points a game at 40 years old on a crap team... are you serious?  If anything it showed how well his game aged when so many guys dip into the teens in their mid 30s

pipdmx33
pipdmx33

@DavidHarte He average a 20/6/4 with 1.5 steals in his final year in Washington. Not the all-time great he was in Chicago, but a far, far, faaaarrrrr cry from Willie Mays.