With the NBA closed it became difficult to come up with ideas for articles. So we took a brief hiatus, but thankfully, Michael Jordan pushed up the date for the release of the Last Dance, giving basketball fanatics something to watch. Here's what we learned:
1. Winning Mattered Most
Nobody pushed themselves towards winning more than Michael Jordan, if you beat him, or even attempted to humiliate him, he would make it his next mission to destroy you and your team. It was not "win at all costs" because Jordan didn't cheat. It was simply, that when it came to basketball, nothing mattered more than winning. It didn’t matter to him, who or what was in his way, he wasn't going to try and go around the obstacle, he was going to go straight through the obstacle.
The defeats were crushing, especially against the Detroit Pistons teams that he despised, but when Jordan figured out how to win a championship, he never lost a title for the rest of his bulls career, when he played the full season. At what cost? The media had a field day on his relationships with teammates. He forsake being liked and dealt with any criticism in his cold-blooded, single-minded pursuit of winning. But as he said himself, he never asked his teammates to do anything he couldn't do, or hadn't done already. We saw the emotion he had in the documentary when talking about teammates, he cared about them, he just wanted them to preform to highest standard they could, like he always did... and it ended with six championships.
2. MJ Has Emotions
This documentary proved the humanity that Michael Jordan has. He's often represented as this emotionless, cold blooded assassin, who can't be stopped on the basketball court. Yes, Michael Jordan really couldn't be stopped, and he was an assassin, but he did have emotions. Jordan’s relationship with his father, James, was profound. Michael wanted his dad around as often as possible and made sure that happened.
Throughout the “The Last Dance,” we saw James Jordan in the locker room, in the stands, even serving as his son’s spokesperson. And when his father died, we saw just how much that affected Michael Jordan. The media went after him, saying outrageous things about his fathers death, all while he still had to go out there and preform to the highest level. He did preform to the highest level, he carried the bulls through the playoffs, but in that documentary, we were reminded that he was still human. Seeing Michael Jordan, just break down after winning that championship, being reminded that his father wasn't there to watch him, to celebrate with him, and he just sobbed on the floor holding that trophy. It shocked me, I had seen the photo, but I didn't fully understand the true meaning behind it.
3. More Than An Athlete
Yes, athletes were endorsed before Jordan came, and the top ones were well compensated. But Jordan changed the game with Nike, Gatorade, McDonald’s, and others. He parlayed his deal with Nike into his own company, and he thrives as a seller of athletic gear, including his shoes, which remain top-sellers even though he hasn’t played a game in nearly two decades. Sneaker culture wouldn't be the same today without Jordan's influence. He's the worlds richest athlete, the only NBA player to become a billionaire, he has shown the blueprint to todays current generation on how to market yourself. For example, Jordan starred in his own movie "Space Jam," and now, two decades later, LeBron James will star in the next one.
What was known but was illuminated even more: Jordan’s penchant for carrying grudges to motivate himself. This was shown, over and over and over. If he felt snubbed, he made it a point to exact some kind of revenge. It’s a familiar theme. When Barkley won MVP in 1993, Jordan said he would just win the title and Finals MVP. Same thing when he was compared to Clyde Drexler before the 1992 Finals, same thing with Karl Malone when he won the MVP.
Some of it might have been petty, like when he invented a story about a player, just to motivate himself to destroy him. But Jordan looked for any kind of competitive edge to fuel his desire to win a championship. It’s an insight into his killer mentality. We saw how much he wanted to absolutely destroy Isiah Thomas, because he HATED him and his pistons team. Thomas, isn't blameless in the feud, but Jordan, can’t let things like that go. At least Thomas is around to defend himself and tell his side of the story.
5. Michael Jordan is the G.O.A.T.
This one's self explanatory, it's really that simple. He's the greatest basketball player of all time.