Over the past few weeks, "The Last Dance" has detailed many of the most memorable and impressive moments of Michael Jordan's storied career. But this weekend, in Episode 8, we'll learn more about one of the more infamous events: The time he punched Steve Kerr in practice.
An extreme competitor, that was far from Jordan's only physical altercation, however. Whether it was practice or games, he was always willing to go to blows if that's what he felt was necessary.
Ahead of the Kerr incident being featured on the documentary, here's a look at some or Jordan's most notable dust-ups, including the time he landed a punch on Reggie Miller during a game, but somehow didn't get ejected.
Jordan vs. Kerr
This is by far the most well-known physical altercation involving Jordan, due in large part to Kerr's willingness to discuss it. But, if you weren't aware of what happened, here's how it went down.
One day in training camp, just ahead of the 1995-96 season, Kerr and Jordan were on opposing teams during a scrimmage, and things started getting physical. Kerr was upset his team was losing, and Jordan was frustrated with the way Phil Jackson was officiating the play.
“And Phil just throws me out of practice…” 👀— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 9, 2020
Episodes 7 & 8 of #TheLastDance air this Sunday starting at 9pm ET on ESPN. pic.twitter.com/A2uAxRiIlz
We'll let those involved take it from there (quotes from upcoming episodes of "The Last Dance"):
Jordan: So one day at practice, Phil puts Steve Kerr guarding me.
Kerr: We're on opposite sides in a scrimmage, and he's talking all kinds of trash, and I'm pissed because we're getting our ass kicked.
Jordan: Phil sensed my aggression, but he was trying to tone me down, and he starts calling all these ticky-tack fouls. Now I'm getting mad, because, for you to be protecting this guy, that's not gonna help us when we play New York, that's not gonna help us when we play these teams that are very physical. The next time he did it, I just hauled off, and when I fouled Steve Kerr I said, 'now that's a f------ foul.'
Kerr: I have a lot of patience as a human being, but I tend to snap at some point, because I'm extremely competitive, too. I'm just not really good enough to back it up usually, but I'm going. I'm gonna fight.
Jordan: He hauls off and hits me in the chest, and I just haul off and hit him right in the f------ eye. And Phil just throws me out of practice.
Back in 2016, during an interview with VICE, Kerr said he doesn't even remember what happened once fists started flying.
Later, teammate Judd Buechler told Kerr that the scuffle reminded him of a familiar movie scene. "I was like the kid in 'Jurassic Park' who got attacked by the velociraptor," Kerr said, laughing. "I had no chance. It was just mayhem. We were screaming at each other."
"Apparently, I got punched," he said. "I don't even remember getting hit."
In the years since, Kerr has said on multiple occasions that the incident actually strengthened the relationship between the two, though he obviously wouldn't recommend going to those lengths to earn someone's trust.
Pretty much all the Bulls did with Jordan was win titles, and when you have that much success, the lowlights like this are easy to overshadow. But there's no question Jordan was not easy to play with.
Jordan vs. Perdue
Kerr wasn't the only teammate Jordan punched during practice. During a recent interview with our own CBS Sports HQ, Will Perdue confirmed a report from Sam Smith's legendary book, The Jordan Rules, that Jordan punched him during practice.
"He did, and I wasn't the only one," Perdue said. "That's how competitive our practices were. That wasn't the only fight, that was one of numerous. But because it involved Michael Jordan, and it leaked out, that it became a big deal. And the funny thing was, in that practice that it happened, we basically separated, regrouped and kept practicing -- it wasn't like that was the end of practice. Stuff like that was common, because that's how competitive our practices were."
Perdue added that he wasn't the only one that Jordan hit. Which means, including the Kerr incident, there were at least three times that Jordan punched someone during practice. And those are the only ones we know about.
Even more interesting is that Perdue noted practice just moved on afterward as if nothing had happened. That's just another reminder of how different a time it was.
Obviously there are things that happen with teams that we never hear about these days, but it's hard to imagine something like Jordan punching a teammate being kept under wraps for so long, especially if it was happening multiple times. After all, we found out about J.R. Smith throwing soup at a coach.
Jordan vs. Brown
Even later in his career, Jordan just couldn't turn off his ultra-competitive attitude. While he was no longer physically attacking his teammates when he returned to play with the Wizards, he was certainly still doing so mentally.
No one experienced that more than Kwame Brown, who was the first high school player ever to be the No. 1 overall pick. The fact that Jordan was, at the time, the executive who made that decision, only added to the strange dynamic between them.
Michael Leahy's book, When Nothing Else Matters, details one excruciating practice, in which Jordan finally snapped on the struggling rookie.
Things deteriorated quickly thereafter. Brown didn't work hard enough for Jordan's taste, and it did not help that many in the Wizards organization, from officials to teammates, thought the kid showed no capacity for either accepting criticism or honoring an old basketball tenet that said rookies should play hard, accept bruises and complain about nothing.
With the criticism mounting and his play getting worse, Brown became maddeningly frustrated, a kid convinced he was being repeatedly fouled in intrasquad scrimmages by two veterans, Christian Laettner and Jahidi White, who weren't quick enough, Brown believed, to stay with him. He would drive toward the basket and feel himself being bumped by a hard hip, sometimes losing the ball, infuriated the referees wouldn't blow a whistle. "That was a foul," he finally groaned.
Play stopped. There was an electric silence. A wide-eyed Jordan was walking toward him. "You [expletive] flaming [expletive]," Jordan exploded. "You don't get a foul call on a [expletive] little touch foul, you [expletive]. You don't bring that [expletive] here. Get your [expletive] ass back on the floor and play. I don't want to hear that [expletive] out of you again. Get your ass back and play, you [expletive]."
A stupefied Brown could say nothing. He looked close to tears, thought a witness.
"It was not a mortal wound," the same Wizards official said. But the man believed that Jordan's words left Brown numb for several days thereafter, observing that Brown appeared to be increasingly tentative on the court.
For as long as Jordan would remain in his life, Brown would be diplomatic. Even so, some memories he had difficulty holding back.
"It was pretty rough," Brown recalled later of the scrimmage. "But that's Michael Jordan. You deal with it. You learn you're a rookie and you're not going to get calls. ... But sometimes I felt all alone out there, like I was surrounded by sharks."
No one wants to get hit, but honestly, taking a punch might have been less embarrassing for Brown than this. For what it's worth, Brown denied this story, saying Jordan never called him a homophobic slur, and never made him cry -- another detail that is widely accepted.
None of us were actually there, so you don't want to call Brown a liar, but it's very easy to imagine Jordan doing something like that given his past actions. And even if he didn't use a slur, nor make Brown cry, he was definitely verbally berating him.
Jordan vs. Miller
All of the previous incidents have two things in common: they happened in practice, and we don't have any footage. Back in 1993, however, Jordan got into it with Reggie Miller during a game, and we absolutely have tape on that one.
At one point in the first half, the Pacers got out on the fastbreak, and Jordan raced back for an impressive chasedown block, but Miller was there to follow it up for an easy bucket. Miller's momentum carried him toward Jordan on the baseline, and the two collided.
Was it an accident? Was it intentional? Either way, Jordan didn't like it at all, and ran up on Miller. Jordan sort of body checked the Pacers star, and then the two held each other in a clench for a brief second before starting to swing.
Jordan appeared to be the only one who actually landed anything meaningful, but Miller was the only one ejected from the game -- something he's still upset about, as he explained on The Dan Patrick Show a few years back.
This is probably my all-time favorite M.J. story. He and I were going at it. This was in Market Square Arena, my building, our building, the Pacers building. This happened in the first quarter, maybe the second quarter.
We get tangled up, and we start fighting, and we start throwing blows at one another. We both start fighting, we both throw blows. How do I get tossed out in my building, and he goes on to score 45 -- which he probably would have had if I was in the game.
But still, I get thrown out of my building in Indiana, and Black Jesus, the Golden Boy, who was obviously the No. 1 draw -- OK, I get it, I knew everyone came to see him -- but how do I get thrown out?
Look, Miller has a very valid point here. They both sort of mushed each other in the face, and then Jordan gets in a punch. If there was video replay back then, there's no way that Miller is the only one sent to the showers.