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MJ tells UNC frosh to ditch the Kobes, makes a Final Four deal

Ryan Greene
The Dagger

In the past two months, few things have been able to rattle red-hot North Carolina freshman swingman Harrison Barnes.

Michael Jordan sure did, though, last Saturday in Charlotte.

The day before UNC punched its ticket to the Sweet 16 with an 86-83 victory over Washington, the players exited the Time Warner Cable Arena and had an encounter with the most legendary Tar Heel of all-time, and he had some interesting words for Barnes involving his choice in footwear.

Jordan playfully chastised Barnes for wearing the trendy Nike Zoom Kobe VI — Kobe Bryant's shoe. However, given Jordan's famed, maniacal competitive streak, there probably was a strong hint of seriousness to his message, as Bryant's kicks have gained significant ground on Jordan's in terms of popularity with young players. He is, after all, the NBA's active king of cool.

"If I see you in them Kobe Bryants, man, I'm gonna cut you right off," Jordan said. "I don't care if your feet kill you, you're gonna wear them Jordans.

"Wait 'til I tell your momma, man. I'm gonna tell her. But if you're gonna keep winning, you can wear them. But that Duke game, you got killed."

Barnes then motioned to whoever was filming it to cut the camera off, but it kept rolling. The footage was just too good. {YSP:MORE}

Jordan's Duke jab was in reference to UNC's 75-58 loss to the rival Blue Devils in the ACC tournament title game. In that defeat, Barnes had just 16 points off of 6-of-15 shooting.

It wasn't a completely embarrassing run-in, though, as the entire team was given some added incentive to keep winning in the NCAA tournament.

Jordan said that if the Tar Heels win two games in New Jersey this weekend and get back to the Final Four, he'll supply the entire team with the tough-to-find (and quite pricey) Air Jordan 11 Retro "Cool Greys," along with "anything you want."

Upon hearing that, the words "NCAA violation" might spring into your head, but it appears that wouldn't likely be the case, as the Jordan Brand — owned by, of course, Jordan — is the team's official equipment supplier.

If the Tar Heels are as serious about their sneakers as most kids nowadays tend to be, Marquette could be running into a buzz saw come Friday night.

Ryan Greene also covers UNLV and the Mountain West Conference for the Las Vegas Sun. Read his Rebels coverage and follow him on Twitter.

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