"If you had a terrible headache, and I gave you a bottle of pills, and nine of the pills would cure you, and one of the pills would kill you, would you take a pill?"
"And I look at him, and I said, 'Depends on how [expletive] bad the headache is.'"
That interaction between Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Michael Jordan — had at an ambiguous time during the '90s dynasty when Jordan was weighing whether or not to play through a foot injury — is just one of (hopefully) many snapshots of the homicidally competitive Jordan we will all get a fresh look at when ESPN's "The Last Dance" debuts on April 19.
A clip of Jordan and Reinsdorf recounting the exchange was played on "Good Morning America" Thursday morning during an interview between Jordan and Robin Roberts. Context: At the time, the team was deciding whether or not to let Jordan play through the ailment, and doctors pinned a 10 percent chance of a career-injury occurring if he did.
Those odds were good enough for Michael.
.@ABC NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Michael Jordan talks #TheLastDance docuseries, which gives an inside look at his final NBA title with the Chicago Bulls, premiering Sunday on @ESPN. https://t.co/Z6WhFwgo4p pic.twitter.com/9hSBr9iYoj— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 16, 2020
"My parents," Jordan told Roberts when asked where that type of drive originated. "My father worked at General Electric for years trying to provide for his family, moved all over southern North Carolina. My mom worked for a bank... They were hardworking people. And they instilled that in not just me but my brothers and sisters, so I just lived vicariously through them, and lived and learned it from them, and it just became a part of my nature."
There inlies the dichotomy of "The Last Dance." The bulk of the docuseries' footage is said to come from tapes collected from the 1997-98 season when NBA Entertainment was allowed behind the curtain of the Bulls' final title run of the dynasty.
From that, we can certainly expect the legendarily competitive side of Jordan to shine through. But "The Last Dance" also promises to tell Jordan's honest, comprehensive story in all its glory and warts; the transition from "Mike" Jordan, to Michael Jordan, to the greatest of all time — a global icon without comparison.
The context of the dynasty's inevitable splintering is sure to add tension to all of the above.
"It was a trying year. We all were trying to enjoy that year knowing that it was coming to an end," Jordan told Roberts. "Phil started off the year by saying this was the last dance, and we played it that way. Mentally, it tugged at you throughout the course of the year that this had to come to an end, but it also centered our focus to making sure we end it right.
"As sad as it sounded at the beginning of the year, we tried to rejoice and enjoy the year and finish it off the right way."
They certainly did. That should shine through, as well.