Things were good for Richard Hamilton during the early years of his NBA career in Washington. He was the No. 7 pick in 1999 after winning a NCAA title with UConn and scored 18.1 points per game during his second pro season. And then Michael Jordan is his new teammate?!
Well, Jordan was not exactly the nicest teammate, telling the young guard he was not good enough to join the Jordan Brand team. Hamilton told the story to Rachel Nichols on ESPN’s The Jump (h/t: FTW):
While Hamilton said Jordan would give basketball tips, the superstar also showed another side.
“Then there was also another side, where there was the talking trash Michael Jordan,” Hamilton said. “He’d look at me and say, ‘Hey Rip, my sneaker’s for All-Stars.’ And at that time, I’m like wow, like really?”
Hamilton went on to become a three-time All-Star and win the 2004 title with the Pistons, after Jordan supposedly had him traded to Detroit because Hamilton was “a young, brash guy who threatened the idea of Michael being the guy [in Washington],” according to a New York Times article from 2003.
In 2006, Hamilton dropped 51 points on the Knicks to become the first player since Jordan to score at least 50 in Madison Square Garden.
Jordan later attended Hamilton’s wedding in 2009, so there aren’t any hard feelings.