Four-time NBA champion Horace Grant joined the BetUS Unfiltered podcast this week, and the Bulls legend dished on his experience in Chicago, where he played seven seasons and won three consecutive titles from 1991-93.
After leading off with a retelling of the real story behind the 2000 fight between himself and then-Sonics teammate Vernon Maxwell — one that led to Grant injuring his shoulder as he broke up the brawl — Payton delivered some valuable insight about the way relationships between players today compare to those during his time in the league.
“We could be homies, but on the court we were enemies, and then we could go back off the court and be cool,” Payton said. “Nowadays, stuff is so buddy-buddy it’s crazy.
“I didn’t like Horace when he was with the Bulls because he was beating up on me,” Payton continued. “But when I had a chance to play with Horace — and I had the opportunity to play with him twice, with the Lakers and with Seattle — me and Horace became good friends … and we’re like that, now.”
Later, Grant opened up about his unpleasant exit from the happiest place on earth after playing seven seasons with the Orlando Magic over two stints with the team. Following Grant’s departure, reports circulated about his tense relationship with head coach Doc Rivers.
“The way I look at it is, you’ve got a cancer, it’s got to be removed,” Rivers told ESPN following the move in December 2002.
“Doc was a young coach, coming into his own with a brand new team, and I was long in the tooth, in the twilight of my career,” Grant said. “I wanted to be treated like a veteran and he wanted to treat me like a second-year player, and that wasn’t going to happen.
“Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a cancer in the locker room, absolutely not,” Grant continued. “But when he got fired from Orlando and got the job with TNT, we talked, he came up and said it shouldn’t have happened like that, apologized and it’s over.”
The Last Straw
Later in the show, Grant broke down some of his favorite Bulls memories, including the information he says should have been included in the miniseries “The Last Dance,” which told the story of Michael Jordan’s final season with Chicago in 1997-98.
“What wasn’t in there was all the clap-back,” Grant said. “Of course MJ talked to guys a certain way, but we’re grown-ass men, we’re not going to sit there and take it. We’d clap back, but none of that was in there — not one time from myself, Ron Harper, Stacey King –”
“Horace,” Payton interrupted, “he’s the one who produced the thing.”
NBA Playoff Update
After discussing the success of both the Payton and Grant families in the NBA, the crew and host Dawn Lupul broke down the latest in the NBA playoffs, including a surprising 2-0 start for the Dallas Mavericks in their first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
“My man Ty Lue, who I was with at the Lakers, he’s going to have to come up with a plan to somehow contain Luka [Doncic], because that young man is eating them for lunch,” Grant said. “The crazy thing about it is you have two of the best defensive players in Kawhi [Leonard] and Paul George — put both of them on Luka if you have to.”
Added Payton: “This game coming up is make-or-break. If they lose this game, this team is in trouble, and this organization is going to make a drastic change this summer. I think one of the two big guys have to go and do something else.”
Heading East, the cast also broke down the New York Knicks’ success and what it means to the fans of the Big Apple.
“I love watching the Knicks right now,” Grant said. “They play hard, they play smart 99.9% of the time, and they’re bringing the glory back to the Garden, which we all love.”
Fit with The Glove
In the show’s closing segment, Payton wrapped the show with an appropriate tribute to Grant — along with the two other players he identified as being his closest “brothers” from his NBA career.
“Horace was so good with everything that he did that he was always funny, always approachable, always the teammate that you wanted to have,” Payton said.
To see the full show, check out the video at the top of the page.