After Horace Grant revealed the story of former Chicago Bulls center Will Perdue getting hit by Michael Jordan during practice, it was up to Perdue himself to tell his side of the story.
Perdue, who is currently the CSN Chicago analyst, said that basically “there was a lot of truth” in what Grant said.
“First of all, the second unit was kicking the first unit’s butt and Michael wasn’t too happy about it. And we used to do it actually quite often in practice,” Perdue recalled.
“Secondly, we were the scout team running some plays of the team we were going to play the next night and Johnny Bach was the defensive coach. And what we used to do was run about five high frequency plays of our opponent. Well one of them was they were going to continue to run the screen-roll to see if Michael was going to continue to try to work his way over the screen over four quarters, because they knew the guy coming off the screen was the shooter,” Perdue continued.
“Michael didn’t want to go under, neither did Phil (Jackson) or Johnny Bach want Michael to go under. So (the opponent is) going to want to lay some wood on (Jordan), is the terminology, try to knock him off a screen,” he said.
“So we kept running this play and sometimes my screens were illegal, sometimes they were not. But my job was to make sure I hit him. Well one time he said, ‘If you do that again I’m going to make you pay for it’,” Perdue said.
“Well Johnny Bach just stood there and said, ‘Run it again’. So we ran it again, and this time I figured if I’m going to get my money’s worth…I nailed him, knocked him to the ground, kind of stood over him a little bit. He stood up, popped me and before I could get him they got us and that was the end of it. He apologized later, but he got me pretty good,” Perdue recalled.
He further said that despite the punch, he’s seen worse from other players.
“I took worse shots from Bill Cartwright,” Perdue said.
Perdue played his first seven seasons in Chicago, winning three NBA titles there (1991,1992,1993). Perdue went on to average career high 8.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg and 1.6 bpg for the San Antonio Spurs after being traded from the Bulls. He would go on to return to Chicago for one season, and then finished his career with the Portland TrailBlazers in 2000-01.
Perdue played a total of 792 NBA games (started 223), averaging 4.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg and 0.7 bpg in 14.6 mpg.
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