Reggie Miller claims Michael Jordan called himself ‘Black Jesus,’ but story full of holes


Update: The Bulls were not scheduled to play the Paces in the 1987 preseason.

Perhaps, the schedule was changed. Perhaps, Miller mixed up that lone detail — though he expounded on it.

Perhaps, the entire story is fiction.


Reggie Miller tells a story about a preseason game between the Pacers and Bulls in 1987, before Miller’s rookie year and Michael Jordan’s fourth (hat tip: Ananth Pandian of

Most veterans do not like to play in exhibition games. They want to get to the real thing. I’m a wide-eyed energetic rookie. And we’re playing this exhibition game, and Michael’s going through the motion.

And Chuck Person, who’s on my team – he’s a trash talker as well – was like “Can you believe Michael Jordan, the guy everyone’s talking about, who’s supposed to be able to walk on water? You’re out here killing him, Reg.” This is in the first half. He’s like, ‘You should be talking to be talking to him.” I’m like, “You know what? You’re right.”

Michael, who do you think you are? The great Michael Jordan? That’s right There’s a new kid on town.

Right? He kind of looks at me and starts shaking his head. So, at half, I have 10. And he has four points. I’m doing all this talking. It’s like, OK.

At the end of the game, in the second half, he ended up with 44 and I ended up with 12. So, he outscored me, 40 to two.

And as he’s walking off he’s like, “Be sure and be careful that you never talk to Black Jesus like that.”

That’s one heck of a tale (if true).

Miller also said he never talked trash to Michael Jordan after that. And maybe Jordan just overreacted to a single instance of Miller bumping him, but I find it hard to believe Miller didn’t use words to get under Jordan’s skin prior to this:

If you’re a Comcast subscriber in Chicago, you can stream tonight’s Bulls-Pacers game here.