Although drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1978, Steve Sax finished his career in the American League, playing just seven games for the Oakland Athletics during the 1994 season. Sax was with the Chicago White Sox the two years prior, which followed a stint with the New York Yankees.
While a member of the White Sox, Sax had the opportunity to spend time with Michael Jordan, who had retired from the NBA after winning three consecutive championships with the Chicago Bulls so that he could pursue a baseball career.
Jordan was assigned to Double-A Birmingham, in large part because their facilities could better handle the media frenzy. During his time with the Barons, Sax looked to capitalize on being teammates with who many consider the greatest basketball player of all-time.
“I spent Spring Training and a month in Birmingham with Michael Jordan, and it was great,” Sax said on the Dodgers Zoom party. “I had so much fun, I learned a lot from being around him, it was just a blast being there.”
As Sax was recalling time spent with Jordan, he shared a story of striking him in the chest. “When I was in Spring Training, Michael Jordan had a basketball, and he was the locker closest to me, so I got to talk to him a bit,” Sax began.
“I said, ‘Hey Mike, throw me the ball. I’m going to dribble it and I want you to guard me for a second so I can tell my kids Michael Jordan guarded me.’
“So I’m dribbling the ball and I’m looking back over my left shoulder — I’d done martial arts my whole life — and I’m looking back and thinking this guy is wide open for a side kick. So you know what I did?
“I just kind of leaned back and shot him one; the blade of my foot right into his sternum. I just tapped him. I didn’t stick it, but it kind of scared the heck out of him. I’m the only guy in the world that’s kicked Michael Jordan.”
Sax didn’t mention whether or not Jordan retaliated, though had he done so, that presumably would’ve been relayed. Ross Stripling did joke that Jordan was still plotting his revenge on Sax, citing his mentality that was on full display in ESPN’s “The Last Dance.”
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