Basketball fans have been gearing up to watch The Last Dance, a 10-part documentary on NBA legend Michael Jordan set to air on April 19. However, Jordan is worried that the documentary will paint him in a bad light.
Jordan played in the league from the 80s to the early 2000s, when times were different, and people got away with a lot more than society allows today. Therefore, while the documentary may show Jordan as extremely hardcore and competitive, it was all because he held himself to a high standard as well as his teammates. Some might find it hard to watch, while others might applaud Jordan as he helped the Chicago Bulls win six NBA titles with his extremely excessive way of being harsh to his teammates.
“When people see this footage I’m not sure they’re going to be able to understand why I was so intense, why I did the things I did, why I acted the way I acted, and why I said the things, I said,” Jordan told Richard Deitsch in an interview with The Athletic.
In reference to a specific clip from the film that showed him riding with former teammate Scott Burrell, Jordan said viewers are going to think that he’s a horrible guy.
“When you see the footage, you’re going to think that I’m a horrible guy,” he explained. “But you have to realize that the reason why I was treating him like that is because I needed him to be tough in the playoffs and we’re facing the Indiana’s and Miami’s and New York’s in the Eastern Conference. He needed to be tough, and I needed to know that I could count on him. And those are the kind of things where people see me acting the way I acted in practice, they’re not going to understand it.”
While acknowledging the fact that people will think negatively of him and his sportsmanship, Jordan made it clear that at the end of the day, he wanted to win and was willing to work hard and do whatever it took.
“Look, winning has a price,” Jordan said in the upcoming documentary. “And leadership has a price. So I pulled people along when they didn’t want to be pulled. I challenged people when they didn’t want to be challenged. And I earned that right because my teammates who came after me didn’t endure all the things that I endured. Once you joined the team, you lived at a certain standard that I played the game. And I wasn’t going to take any less. Now, if that means I had to go in there and get in your ass a little bit, then I did that. You ask all my teammates. The one thing about Michael Jordan was he never asked me to do something that he didn’t fu**ing do.”
Jordan’s mentality to win by any means necessary led him to not only six NBA championships with the Bulls but to six Finals MVP Awards and the title of one the greatest basketball players to ever play the game.
“When people see this they are going say, ‘Well, he wasn’t really a nice guy. He may have been a tyrant.’ Well, that’s you. Because you never won anything. I wanted to win, but I wanted them to win to be a part of that as well. Look, I don’t have to do this. I am only doing it because it is who I am. That’s how I played the game. That was my mentality. If you don’t want to play that way, don’t play that way,” he added.