That Time Michael Jordan ‘Smoked’ And Trash-Talked J.R. Smith While They Were Golfing

J.R. Smith and Michael Jordan
(Image credit: I Am Athlete/ESPN)

Michael Jordan is without a doubt one of the greatest athletes who’s ever lived, and one of the reasons for that is arguably his competitive nature. Those who watched him play or tuned in for ESPN’s The Last Dance (streamable with a Netflix subscription) know just how “personal” he takes things on the court. However, he’s also an avid golfer, who plays against a number of fellow NBA vets. J.R. Smith had the pleasure of hitting a few balls with His Airness, and apparently the hall of famer “smoked” him and delivered some trash talk. 

The idea of playing against Michael Jordan in any kind of sport is both exciting and incredibly daunting. J.R. Smith was apparently more than willing to go up against the iconic basketball player, though. While discussing his game of golf with his childhood hero, Smith explained that the two went as far as to make wagers on the game, in which he apparently got crushed by the former Chicago Bull. But the icing on the cake was Jordan’s A+ zinger, which humorously revolved around Smith’s 16-year tenure in the NBA: 

He smoked me. He threw this jab at me low-key. So we were betting right and I doubled down on one of my bets. He said, ‘Alright, what’s the game?’ I’m like, ‘We gon’ play a Nassau.’ I said, ‘Whoa, $100, not $1000.’ He said, ‘I know what you meant… You had a good career, not a great career. What do you want me to say?’ It was great for me.

I’d say that joke is deadlier than any dagger shot MJ has ever put up in a fourth quarter. Nevertheless, this didn’t seem to bother J.R. Smith one bit. During the same interview with Complex Sports, the former Cleveland Cavalier explained that he experienced a sense of child-like joy while playing alongside Air Jordan:

It was one of the most childish feelings I felt as a grown-ass man. That’s Mike, bro. I couldn’t stop looking at him like, ‘Yo he got the Jordan’s.

There’s no greater feeling than meeting your heroes, even if they do beat you and come for your career while you’re playing a game of golf. But trash talk aside, I’d probably be pretty starstruck as well if I’d played golf with an NBA GOAT like Michael Jordan

When hearing about Michael Jordan’s savage comments, it’s honestly hard not to think about his (one-sided) feud with former teammate Scottie Pippen. Pippen did not mince words when talking about his disdain for The Last Dance (which drew backlash from several players) and the nature of his relationship with Jordan. In one instance, Pippen’s shade even drew the response of veteran NBA coach Stan Van Gundy. Coincidentally, Pippen even claimed that he could beat Jordan at golf. Though the Jordan Brand founder never responded to his colleague’s comments, I think he probably could’ve dropped a few one-liners.

But it would seem that the six-time NBA champion is simply content with his golf outings with other professional basketball veterans. I’m curious as to whether J.R. Smith will agree to any kind of rematch and, if he does, I’ll be praying that his wallet and ego aren’t hurt too badly.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.