Michael Jordan, Steve Kerr remember training camp fight that ended in black eye, ejection

Yahoo Sports

Michael Jordan and Steve Kerr worked well together during their time on the Chicago Bulls and are still friendly to this day. 

That, though, hasn’t always been the case between Jordan and the current Golden State Warriors coach.

Their infamous fight during training camp before the 1995-96 season was featured during Episode 8 of “The Last Dance” on ESPN on Sunday night.

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“It’s not something I’m proud of,” Kerr told ESPN this week. “It is something that happens from time to time on most teams during the season. Guys get into it during practice. It’s just part of high-level competition.”

‘He’s talking all kinds of trash’

Bulls coach Phil Jackson put Kerr on Jordan for a scrimmage during that training camp, and things quickly turned chippy. 

“He’s talking all kinds of trash,” Kerr said of Jordan in the documentary, “and I’m pissed because we’re getting our ass kicked.”

Things between the two kept escalating throughout the practice, especially when Kerr started drawing fouls. 

Finally, one time down the floor, Kerr and Jordan snapped.

“He hauls off and hits me in the chest,” Jordan said in the documentary. “And I hauled off and hit him right in the f---ing eye.

“And Phil threw me out of practice.”

So Jordan was sent out of the gym, and Kerr was left with a black eye.

Michael Jordan was kicked out of practice after giving Steve Kerr a black eye ahead of the 1995-96 season. (Reuters)
Michael Jordan was kicked out of practice after giving Steve Kerr a black eye ahead of the 1995-96 season. (Reuters)

A quick apology

Jordan’s anger, he said, didn’t last long. Sitting in the locker room after that, he felt incredibly small.

Their beef was short-lived, too.

Jordan, after leaving the practice facility that day, turned back around and went back to the gym to get Kerr’s phone number so he could call and apologize. 

In the end, Kerr said, their fight actually drastically improved their relationship. In the documentary, Kerr said that standing up for himself to Jordan was “the best thing I ever did.”

“He called me later that day and apologized,” Kerr told ESPN this week. “In a strange way, it was almost a necessary step in our relationship, in a weird way. And from then on, I think he understood me a lot better and vice versa. And we got along much better and competed together and I think he trusted me more. So it was actually sort of, in the end, it was all good. But we’ve never talked about it since. To be honest, I don’t ever think about it, but I get asked about it because it’s a unique [situation].”

While he admitted it was weird to talk about — and even weirder knowing that he’d have to relive it — Kerr was happy that there weren’t any cameras around. 

“It’s very, very strange to know everybody’s hearing this story and talking about it and then I’m going to be on camera talking about it. Michael is. And people are going to be examining this whole thing,” Kerr told ESPN this week.

“It’s like there’s a reason camera crews generally aren’t given that type of access. Now, I don’t think there was any footage of that fight, because that didn’t happen in ’98, but just unearthing it all and talking about it is not a lot of fun.”

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