Other than Gary Payton, Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller were two of the biggest trash talkers in the NBA.
Apparently their trash talk was front and center and on full display at the Space Jame dome in the mid 90s.
For those keeping track: MJ started filming Space Jam after the Bulls lost to the Shaquille O’Neal, Horace Grant, Penny Hardaway-led Orlando Magic in the 1995 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Jordan’s Los Angeles-based Space Jam dome doubled as a studio and a training headquarters for MJ to prepare for the Bulls’ eventual next three-peat from 1996-98.
The building was air-conditioned,included locker rooms, a barbershop, showers, a living room and top-notch training equipment.
MJ never had to leave the studio!
Appearing on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, retired NBA vet, Tracy Murray tells me that MJ and Miller would often go one on one in pickup games filled with tons of trash talk. The Story is quite hilarious.
Check out our Q&A below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Help me understand something. You mentioned something that I find very fascinating. I talked to Charles Barkley about it recently…The Jordan Dome. The Space Jam Dome. I was on the front end of LeBron in Space Jam last summer, and I’m fascinated by now being a grown man to see that dome. What did it look like? What did it smell like? What’s the day to day like of in the Jordan Space Jam Dome?
Tracy Murray: If you parked outside the dome, you’ll walk in this little area where the door was, and you walk into the door and you’ll see the court. It was like the Long Beach Arena – the old Long Beach [49ers] Arena floor with two portable baskets on there. To the left would be like a net where he could practice on his golf swing and hit the ball in the net, there was like a poker table because guys like playing cards or whatever. If to look to the right there would be chairs lined up along court for – a lot of stars and celebrities came in to watch the pickup games –
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Like who?
Tracy Murray: Awww Shoot. The Wayans, Queen Latifah, the whole Space Jam staff, tons of comedians, anybody that was somebody came through and watched. Black Hollywood was up in there. Everybody was there! Then straight across from the door where you enter, there’s weights. There’s weights all along there where you can – where Mike use his weights, he had a little dressing room – I can almost remember like it was almost yesterday. And one thing I do remember, it had lights in there and everything; they put portable lights up in the dome pert of it. But the pickup games were the best pickup games EVER! Best pickup games I’ve ever played in my life! And if I didn’t improve as a player that summer then, I deserve no spot in the NBA. That’s how intense it was, that’s how many top players in the League was in there – it was like an NBA All Star game in there EVERY day. I mean it was that type of talent. AND everybody was playing their natural positions. You didn’t see 4’s playing 5’s or anything like that; you look at the 5 spot you got Shaq, ‘Zo, Mutombo, Ewing…you know at the power forwards you having Chuck and Rodman and Oakley – Larry Johnson…some of the top power forwards, Karl may have come but I wasn’t there if he came through. It’s like you had that type of caliber players in there. Point guards you know, you had Rod Strickland, Tim Hardaway guys like that coming through. 2-Guards of course you have Michael, Reggie…every top 2-guard in the League coming in there. You had Scottie and Grant Hill – Grant Hill in his prime! You know people forget about Grant Hill. Grant Hill in his prime was a MONSTER. Glen Rice, Steve Smith – I mean it was for real up in there. And you were only going to seven. So you’d better be ready to be able strap it up and perform right away or else you’re sitting for a couple hours before you get back on. That’s what the weight room was for. If you lose, you better go lift weights because it’s gonna be a while. It was intense up in there!
Branon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Who was kickin’ whose ass 1-on-1? [laughs]
Tracy Murray: You know what? Everybody would play team ball for the most part. You even had the Juwan Howard’s and the Chris Webbers come up in there. They were young, but they came up in there. It was the Tellem and Faulk clients. You know they had pretty much everybody. Anybody that was top. So all of Falk and Tellem clients that was up in there. So the most intense game that I remember was when Reggie and Mike were playing and you know those two… they get after it. They have a little history with each other so, even pickup games are just like NBA Playoff games with those two, and the most trash talking, physical, in-your-face pickup game I’ve ever seen between two people. And it was to the point where we just passed it and watched them go. Shoot, get him back! Get ‘im! Then on the other end, here’s the ball back. Go get him! It was intense. It was a joy to watch to be honest with you to see two great players, two Hall of Famers have that much pride in a pickup game to not wanting to lose. I mean the level of trash talk was DISRESPECTFUL on both ends but to see – but to see that you know, nobody’s getting paid for this… this is the love, this is pride, this is respect. And to see that level during the summer, was incredible.