Jalen Brunson has only been with the Knicks for one season, but he’s already made his mark in New York City. He was easily the most valuable player on a team that accomplished more than many expected during the 2022-23 season.
But even as good as Brunson is, he’s not perfect by any means. We all make mistakes, especially when we’re young. The point guard probably still thinks about how he refused a Michael Jordan autograph … in person.
Here’s the story (which is old, but just resurfaced on Reddit) from The Dallas Morning News (via ESPN):
Michael Jordan was walking back to his chair in the Washington Wizards locker room when assistant coach Patrick Ewing introduced him to a new fan.
It was March 1, 2003, and 6-year-old Jalen Brunson was in town with his father, Rick, who was playing for the Chicago Bulls. Jalen, who collected NBA jerseys at every arena, was proudly wearing his new, white Wizards No. 23 when the legend himself asked the kid if he wanted it autographed.
‘No,’ Jalen replied. ‘You’ll mess it up.
As the Wizards players erupted with laughter, Ewing marched out of the locker room and yelled down the hall to Rick, his former New York Knicks teammate, about what had just happened. The most unstoppable player of that generation — and perhaps any — had been soundly rejected by a first-grader.
Jordan may have been near the end of his Hall of Fame career at this point, but I didn’t think things were bad enough that he’d have to deal with rejection from a six-year-old. That’s how the cookie crumbles, though.
Shortly after this story originally came out, Brunson addressed it on Twitter, having lots of regret for not realizing who he said no to:
I definitely regret saying no to MJ ??♂️
— Jalen Brunson (@jalenbrunson1) May 18, 2020
This is like any six-year-old, though, right? I currently have a six-year-old in my house. Any time I ask him to do literally anything, the answer is no. So, I feel this on a spiritual level.
I’d imagine Brunson has righted this wrong at some point when playing the Hornets in Charlotte. But it’s still a terrific story.
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.