Michael Jordan: New documentary will make me look like ‘horrible guy’
ESPN will be airing a documentary about Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls called “The Last Dance” that has been widely anticipated by sports fans. Fans crave as much information and footage possible of MJ and his Bulls teams, and the 10-part series, which begins airing on April 19, will give fans a close look at what made the 6-time champion tick. And according to MJ, some people may not like what they see.
Jason Hehir, who directed the series, spoke with The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch for an interview about the series. Hehir says Jordan told him many people would not like what they saw and view MJ as a “horrible guy”. The reason? MJ pushed his teammates so much at times that he came across as mean. Jordan is aware of that.
Here is what Hehir says Jordan told him when they met about the project in 2017.
“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,” Hehir says Jordan told him. “When you see the footage of [me riding with Scotty Burrell], you’re going to think that I’m a horrible guy. 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 Indianas and Miamis and New Yorks 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.”
Jordan believes that being a jerk is sometimes the price of winning and leading.
“Look, winning has a price. And leadership has a price. So I pulled people along when they didn’t want to be pulled,” Jordan said in one of the series episodes. “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 f–king do. 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.”
Indeed, MJ’s warning to fans is not surprising. The six-time NBA champion delivered a Hall of Fame speech that was soaked with bitterness. He’s also made headlines for undercutting current players.
Jordan, 57, never gave an inch as a player and still holds the same mentality. It’s what helped make him great, but he’s not going to win any awards for friendliness.
H/T Bleacher Report