Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan is widely considered one of the most intense players in NBA history. Based on many accounts, Jordan was also an intimidating figure off the court. However, the Bulls legend may have messed with the wrong guy at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Former WWE star Mark Henry was representing the United States at the 1996 Olympics as a super heavyweight weightlifter when he had a run-in with Jordan. According to Henry, Jordan asked him a very blunt question:
“I got to meet the great Michael Jordan,” Henry said in an interview with VladTV in 2020. “The way the story goes is, Michael asked, ‘Who are you?’ because I didn’t fit in. I was in an environment where it was all basketball players, and he was like, ‘Who is this big guy?’”
Henry then said that he felt disrespected by not only what Jordan asked him but the way he asked him the question:
“I understand that, but my mother used to say, ‘Be careful what you say, but even be more careful of how you say it.’ And the way that he said it to me was very disrespectful, I thought.” Henry said.
However, Henry added that he called out Jordan for his disrespect, and the Bulls legend quickly apologized and made it up to him:
“And I checked him about it, and he apologized,” Henry said. “Hell, he invited me to his birthday party at the All-Star game. And I went to his birthday party and, you know, said, ‘Happy birthday and thanks for the invite,’ and had a good time.”
As for how Mark Henry fared as a super heavyweight weightlifter in the Olympics, he finished tenth in 1992 and 14th in 1996. However, according to Henry, he views that as a victory, as he was one of the few competitors who were not on steroids:
“I was winning in America, which was the most important to me, and to be the world’s strongest,” Henry said.
“To come in 10th and be the 10th best player in the world in the Olympic Games and not to cheat, the scientists say that if you take anabolic steroids or growth hormone, it’ll give you between 30-37% improvement. If I would have taken the drugs and I was 37% stronger than I was, I would have won the Olympics. … Everybody would have known that I was not human.”
Henry added that he has no regrets over the choice to not use steroids, as three of his top competitors are already dead:
“I’m gonna tell you something else about the steroids,” Henry said. “Three of the guys that I competed against that actually won the Olympic games, three out of the five guys, they’re dead. They’re not here. They would be the same age as me.”