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‘Last Dance’: Michael Jordan explains tyrannical approach with Bulls teammates

‘Last Dance’: Michael Jordan explains tyrannical approach with Bulls teammates

“Break.”

With one word, Michael Jordan captured his championship commitment, his maniacal drive to win at all costs. 

Jordan said the word — signaling his need to “The Last Dance” director Jason Hehir that he needed a break — at the end of Sunday’s Episode 7 that aired on ESPN. Jordan had just exhausted himself, visibly becoming emotional when explaining his legendary competitiveness.

“Look, I don’t have to do this,” Jordan said. “I’m 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. Break.”

It’s a riveting scene, to be sure. It followed footage of Jordan riding and pushing multiple teammates in practices and other settings. Scott Burrell, in particular, gets tough treatment.

“Yeah, let’s not get it wrong: He was an a**hole. He was a jerk. He crossed the line numerous times,” said Will Perdue, a teammate on the first three-peat teams. “But as time goes on and you think about what he was actually trying to accomplish, you’re like, ‘Yeah, he was a helluva teammate.’”

Before the documentary began airing, multiple stories surfaced that Jordan worried somewhat about how he might be perceived. This episode showed why.

“My mentality was to go out and win — at any cost,” Jordan said. “If you don’t want to live that regimented mentality, then you don’t need to be alongside of me. Because I’m going to ridicule you until you get on the same level as me. And if you don’t get on the same level, then it’s going to be hell for you.” 

Jud Buechler, who, like Burrell, was a reserve on the 1997-98 team, even said teammates were afraid of Jordan. But like Perdue, Buechler realized that the ends justified the means.

Jordan certainly didn’t apologize for his approach.

“Look, winning has a price. And leadership has a price,” Jordan said in the final scenes, as highlights and dramatic music played. “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 join the team, you live in a certain standard that I played the game (with) and I wasn’t going to take anything less. Now, if that means I have 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 gonna 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.”

RELATED: Scottie Pippen: If I could do 1.8 second game over, ‘I probably wouldn’t change it’

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NBCA, Adam Silver speak out following George Floyd’s death and recent protests

NBCA, Adam Silver speak out following George Floyd’s death and recent protests

The National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA hereafter) and commissioner Adam Silver recently joined the chorus of voices speaking out in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

A statement from the NBCA, signed by 33 coaches and almost 180 assistant coaches, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports:

 

The statement pinpoints “police brutality, racial profiling and the weaponization of racism” as “shameful, inhuman and intolerable.”

And their call for “positive change” will reportedly be followed by some action. The NBCA has also formed a “committee on racial injustice and reform to pursue solutions within NBA cities”  Wojnarowski reports, which will be comprised of at least Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, Lloyd Pierce, David Fizdale, Stan Van Gundy, Doc Rivers, JB Bickerstaff and Quin Snyder.

Already, many in the NBA community have acted to protest systemic racism and police brutality in the wake of Floyd’s death. Stephen Jackson, Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie demonstrated with many in Minneapolis. Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to lead a peaceful march in Atlanta that also featured Malcolm Brogdon. Lonnie Walker aided in clean-up efforts after a night of protests in San Antonio. The list goes on from there.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver wrote in an internal memo to NBA employees obtained by ESPN that he was “heartened” by those “speaking out to demand justice, urging peaceful protest and working for meaningful change.” Silver also called for introspection and promised the NBA will “continue its efforts to promote inclusion and bridge divides through collective action, civic engagement, candid dialogue and support for organizations working towards justice and equality.” He expressed condolences to the Floyd family, outrage over the wrongful deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and an obligation to not ignore the issues of “racism, police brutality and racial injustice.”

As of this writing, 26 of 30 NBA teams have issued statements on Floyd’s passing, either as entities or through organization spokespeople, ranging from executives to coaches. Hopefully, the words of many lead to action — and that action to appreciable change.

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Dennis Rodman asks looters to stop, protest George Floyd killing peacefully

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USA Today

Dennis Rodman asks looters to stop, protest George Floyd killing peacefully

Dennis Rodman isn’t sugarcoating things as he calls on looters to stop the destruction across the country, and protest peacefully.

“Please, please understand we have to live together,” Rodman said in a video on TMZ. “We’re human beings. We’re not f---ing animals, we’re human beings.”

Rodman likened the protests going on today to the Los Angeles riots in 1992, and said younger generations may not have a full appreciation for how things spiraled out of control back then.

“It’s a bad situation and I think we should all understand the fact that there’s a new generation,” Rodman said in the video. “People my age all knew about the Rodney King thing, and things start to happen, people looting, setting fires, damaging people’s homes, businesses and stuff like that. Now we have this incident.

“I think someone needs to come out and say, ‘Hey guys, why are we looting? Why are we stealing? Why are we creating more issues, more problems, stuff like that?’”

Rodman elaborated that he believes these latest protests across the nation are a symptom of a larger problem, and that the country needs to address the underlying issues.

“Let’s get to the head of what’s really going on,” Rodman said. “This is a bad, bad situation. If you’re going to protest, protest in the right way. You don’t have to go and burn down things, steal things… and stuff like that.

“We’ve got enough issues with the COVID virus right now. We’ve got enough issues.”

Finally, Rodman made an emotional appeal for people to come together, not create an even wider divide.

“Why are we doing this? Why are we hurting each other again? Why not just help each other, hold each other's hands and try to solve the problem? We didn’t create this problem, but guess what, we can help. Especially the new generation, the 24/7 generation, help us as older individuals to understand this. Don’t add to it. Do not add to it. Help us, and help everybody right now.”

RELATED: Michael Jordan issues statement of solidarity in wake of George Floyd's death

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