After being mentioned in Michael Jordan’s rather ruthless Hall of Fame speech over the weekend, Bryon Russell wants MJ to know something: “Whenever you’re ready, I’ll be waiting in California – in my basketball shorts.”
“I’ll play his a— right now,” Russell told Yahoo! Sports. “This is a call-out for him to come play me. He can come out here in his private jet and come play. He’s got millions of dollars. He can pay for the jet. He can meet me at the Recreation Center in Calabasas. We can have Mark Jackson do the commentating. We can have Mitch Richmond do the officiating. We can put it on TV and see if Michael’s still got it.”
Jordan spent much of his enshrinement speech at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame singling out players and coaches who had slighted, criticized or motivated him. Russell merited a special mention. Not as bad as Kanye West’s diss of Taylor Smith at the VMAs though.
Russell said “not a single day passes” in which someone doesn’t ask him about Jordan’s shot over him. While playing for the Denver Nuggets, Russell and then-Nuggets interim coach Michael Cooper got in a heated debate about whether Jordan’s shot over Russell or Julius Erving’s famous acrobatic dunk over Cooper was more embarrassing. Looking back, Russell said he wasn’t humiliated to be part of such a historic play.
“To me, that’s the greatest play in basketball history,” Russell said. “It will stay that way because he will always be the greatest player to play the game. I didn’t mind. But the referees didn’t make the call on the push off.
“It’s long done and gone. It was a call that wasn’t made on a play that was great.”
Russell didn’t watch the Hall of Fame induction ceremony live because he was running errands with his 11-year-old son, Brandon, in Calabasas, Calif., but he did record it. After Jordan mentioned him, Russell received a voice message from his old Long Beach State coach, Seth Greenberg. Several other friends and family members also called and sent him text messages. As soon as Russell got home, he rushed to the television to watch Jordan.
Jordan and Russell were teammates with the Washington Wizards during the 2002-03 season, Jordan’s last in the NBA. Russell said Jordan never brought up the story while they were together and they never played one-on-one, either. Russell, now 38, last played in the NBA during the 2005-06 season, but he works out daily and is eager to “guard [Jordan] again and beat him.”
Russell encouraged Jordan to get his phone number from a mutual friend if he’s up for the challenge. Until then, he wants Jordan to know this:
“I keep my basketball shorts on.”
Source: Yahoo SPorts!