Why Bulls’ Michael Jordan was brought to tears during ‘The Last Dance’ filming
The moment comes at the end of Episode 7, when Jordan is asked to explain the tradeoff between being so dominant in basketball at the expense of being perceived as a nice guy:
“Look, winning has a price,” said Jordan. “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 f***ing do.”
Jordan might be basketball ruthlessness personified, but he was well-aware of the cost he had to pay to build his legacy.
“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,” said Jordan. “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.”
It was in that moment that Jordan asks for a break. He has some much pent up emotion that it nearly brought tears to his eyes. Even if he requested a moment of privacy, it is those type of candid moments that allows viewers to see the person behind the persona.
Jordan has ascended to mythical status for most who watched the NBA in the ’80s and ’90s, but it came at the cost of potential relationships. While his maniacal competitive attitude is praised as the gold standard of all-time winners, it’s also soured some relationships with some of his teammates.
However, most of the prominent ones have been able to understand him and realize why he had to be that way to achieve glory.
The Last Dance is a can’t-miss docuseries that will address and dispel a lot of myths from the Bulls’ golden era, as well as providing a bigger insight as to the sacrifices Jordan made to be in the pantheon of NBA legends.