Michael Jordan picked on Scott Burrell the most during Bulls’ 3-peat pursuit
Throughout the past eight episodes of “The Last Dance,” we were all given a deeper understanding of just how extremely competitive Michael Jordan is. This fire ultimately translated to how MJ treated his teammates with the Chicago Bulls, with the six-time NBA champ setting such a high level of expectation on each and every one of them.
On Sunday’s episodes, however, it was revealed that Jordan appeared to have given a bit more attention to 6-foot-7 swingman Scott Burrell, who joined the Bulls in 1997.
Burrell himself spoke on the show about how Jordan picked on him throughout their time together in Chicago.
“‘Woo,’ I remember, yeah,” Burrell said with a laugh, via Robbie Kalland of Uproxx. “He wants to win and you gotta earn everything in Chicago. There was nothing easy, nothing given to you and you gotta go out and earn it. And you earn it in practice.”
Jordan was in Burrell’s ear all the time, and the former made it a point to take on Burrell on the court during practice.
MJ vs. Scott Burrell pic.twitter.com/YcYFVbCI8b
— Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) May 11, 2020
For Jordan, this was all about mind games and trying to get Burrell to a certain level from a psychological standpoint.
“Scottie Burrell was a talented guy. What Scottie was lacking was a commitment of determination, seriousness,” Jordan said. “So he became my guy to kinda push — keep pushing, keep pushing. I tried to get him to fight me a few times — in a good sense — like I’m tired of you picking on me, that type of mentality. I could never get him. He’s such a nice guy. But I know we’re going to need him at some point and time, and he’s going to remember this and he’s going to go out there and he’s fight.”
In the end, though, it seemed to all work out among the two. Burrell explained how Jordan was ultimately able to motivate him to be a better player.
“You’re playing with a guy that has the highest standards of any basketball player ever,” Burrell said. “You want to live up to that challenge. It’s tough, tough love. You’ve got to go out there and do your job.”
As Burrell explained above, it would have been hell to go through that type of punishment every single day. In hindsight, however, it turned out to be exactly what he needed to succeed.