Chicago Bulls: Gary Payton asked Michael Jordan for his shoes in 1996 Finals

Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls (Photo credit should read DAN LEVINE/AFP via Getty Images)
Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls (Photo credit should read DAN LEVINE/AFP via Getty Images) /

An unusual moment occurred between two great guards in the ‘96 finals, when Gary Payton asked Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan for his shoes.

In the 1996 NBA Finals, legendary shooting guard Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were looking to close out a record breaking season in dominant fashion. The Bulls did have an unsuspectingly tough test, though, in the 1996 finals against former superstar point guard Gary Payton and the upstart Seattle SuperSonics.

At the outset of that finals series, Jordan and the Bulls were rolling. But it didn’t take long for Payton, fellow star Shawn Kemp and the Sonics to catch up. The Sonics pushed the Bulls to a six-game series after head coach Steve Karl switched Payton to defend Jordan. Payton is an all-time great perimeter defender, but it was too little too late when he was assigned to guard MJ.

Payton is a nine-time All-Defensive Team selection and nine-time All-NBA selection, but he couldn’t get the Sonics past MJ and the Bulls in the 1996 NBA Finals. Apparently the moment MJ “knew he had him [Payton]” in the 1996 finals was when the Sonics star asked him for him shoes after the Bulls Game 1 victory.

Ahmad Rashad posted on his Twitter timeline (the premier of parts seven and eight of The Last Dance) that MJ told him Payton asked him for his shoes after Game 1. A highlighting part of the last two episodes that premiered of The Last Dance on May 10 was the storyline during the 96 finals of Payton shutting down MJ for a bit after the series turned to Seattle’s home court.

Payton did have some hot takes, including how he felt the series would change if he were to be guarding MJ the entire time. But it didn’t seem like MJ had any hard feelings toward Gary from any comments he had during or after their playing days in the NBA.

Next. 3 Bulls Karnisovas should want gone next season. dark

The last two parts of the hit docuseries The Last Dance will premier on ESPN/ABC this coming weekend, on May 17 at 8 p.m. CT. They will focus on the end of the run for the Bulls great dynasty teams in the 1990’s, including the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals series against the Indiana Pacers and Utah Jazz.