Michael Jordan is widely considered the greatest basketball player of all-time but he also has a reputation for being insanely competitive and pushing his teammates to their limits in practice.
This week ESPN is set to release their documentary on the 98′ Bulls called “The Last Dance” and apparently MJ is worried that people are going to think he’s a “horrible guy” because some of the footage in the doc shows him going after some of his teamates behind the scenes.
In an interview with Richard Deitsch of The Athletic, ‘The Last Dance’ director Jason Hehir recalled something Jordan told him when they met about the project back in 2017
Via The Athletic
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
”When you see the footage of [me riding with Scotty Burrell], you’re going to think that I’m a horrible guy,” Hehir remembers His Airness telling him before defending his aggressive approach. “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.”
According to Deitsch, Jordan explains why he always pushed his teammates during practice.
Look, winning has a price,” . “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,” he continued. “You ask all my teammates. The one thing about Michael Jordan was he never asked me to do something that he didn’t fucking do.”
The 10-part ‘The Last Dance” documentary will begin airing on ESPN on Sunday April 19th.