There’s a lot to like about this Reggie Miller interview from Thursday night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, but the most important morsel to be gleaned is that Michael Jordan—of wearing-bad-suits fame—once referred to himself as “Black Jesus” on the basketball court.
Miller reeled off a number of NBA glory-days stories in his interview—interesting ones, including a tale about his weird, Mike Tyson-prison-visit bet with Spike Lee during the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals.
But I can’t help but come back to Miller’s lede, which included him trash-talking Jordan, getting destroyed and being reminded to never try “Black Jesus.”
Miller says he was all about himself after outscoring Jordan through the first half of an exhibition game during his rookie year. He let Jordan know he had arrived, which was a mistake:
My rookie year we were playing the Chicago Bulls, and this is Michael Jordan’s third or fourth year in. And we were playing an exhibition game...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...Michael’s going through the motions. And Chuck Person—who’s on my team—who is a trash-talker as well, is 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! ... You should be talking to him!” And I was 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!” He kind of looks at me and starts shaking his head. So at half I have 10, and he has four points...end of the game, the second half, he ended up with 44 and I ended up with 12. So he outscored me 40-2. And as he’s walking off, he’s like, “Be sure, and be careful, you never talk to Black Jesus like that.”
Now, I’m not here to argue about his facial features or try to turn atheists into believers. But I would like to point out that, much like the way Kathie Lee needed Regis, the NBA needed Black Jesus.
So while we have to take Miller’s word that this is truly what Jordan said, the moniker makes sense.
Also, never talk to Black Jesus like that. Even if he’s wearing a dinner jacket that could double as a skydiving wingsuit, never spout blasphemy in Black Jesus’ presence.
Dan is on Twitter. He lifts Black Jesus on high.