Why former Yankees ace CC Sabathia would love the chance to strike out NBA legend Michael Jordan

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Garrett Stepien
·2 min read
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CC Sabathia laughs at Yankee Stadium
CC Sabathia laughs at Yankee Stadium

As a 19-year starting pitcher in MLB, including 2009-19 with the Yankees, CC Sabathia struck out 3,093 batters over the course of his career.

Asked by ESPN analyst and New York Post weekly columnist Jalen Rose on Wednesday's episode of the "Renaissance Man" podcast about whom he would want to strikeout more between NBA legends LeBron James and Michael Jordan, Sabathia -- a former Jordan Brand athlete -- had an adamant answer.

"MJ, for sure, for sure, because he talks so much s--t," Sabathia said with a laugh. "Like, even now -- like, my shoulder's broken, I want his ass to get in the box right now and strike him out right now. Last time he came to one of my starts, I think I had like three or four walks or something, and I come out of the tunnel and before he even gave me a five, he was like, 'Why you walking so many people?' So MJ, for sure, for sure. … I was like, 'Dawg, I've seen the back of your f---ing baseball card.'"

Best known for his all-time great NBA career as a 2009 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, 14-time All-Star selection, 10-time scoring champion and six-time Finals winner, namely with the Chicago Bulls from 1984-98, Jordan paused for baseball in 1993-94.

As a minor-league baseball player with the Birmingham Barons, then a Double-A affiliate for the Chicago White Sox, Jordan slashed .202/.289/.266 while hitting three home runs and recording 51 RBI. He stole 30 bases in his 127 games of action.

Sabathia went 251-161 in a 3.74 ERA over his MLB career with the Yankees, Cleveland (2001-08) and Milwaukee (2008). He started 560 of 561 games in 3,577 innings pitched, striking out 3,093 and walking 1,099.