“There's a knock on the door. It's Michael Jordan.” — Carmen Electra, Episode 4
Michael Jordan barging into Dennis Rodman’s Chicago apartment to break up Rodman and Electra’s Vegas postgame is exactly the absurd place this documentary needed to go.
“Michael Jordan is the only player that could ever turn it on and off, and he never freakin’ turned it off.” — Roy Williams, Episode 2
Roy Williams’ time in this docuseries was far too short.
“I was better than Michael Jordan… For about three weeks.” — James Worthy, Episode 2
In fact, let’s stay on Jordan’s UNC years for a moment. That James freaking Worthy delivered this quote (he of the three NBA titles, Finals MVP, seven All-Star nods and on and on) says all you need to know about Jordan’s greatness — from the beginning.
“Alright. F**king Bulls**t.” — Ron Harper, Episode 4
In the moment, a delightful moment of candor from “1989 Cleveland Cavaliers member” (if all you watched was the docuseries) Ron Harper. In retrospect… Salacious!
Michael Jordan being being Michael Jordan
“The Glove… I had no problem with The Glove.” — Michael Jordan, Episode 8
Michael Jordan is a walking, living, breathing meme. Cherish him forever.
“I didn’t want Bill Cartwright to have the ball with five seconds left. That’s not an equal opportunity offense. That’s f**king bulls**t.” — Michael Jordan, Episode 4
Jordan’s first impressions of the Triangle. Classic. And a meaningful tone-setter for his full evolution as a player — punctuated, later in this same episode, by Jordan conceding shots to an open and red-hot John Paxson in Game 5 of the 1991 Finals.
“Depends how f**king bad the headache is.” — Michael Jordan, Episode 2
Jordan’s response to Jerry Reinsdorf posing this analog to a potentially career-altering foot injury he suffered in his second season:
"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?"
“'Depends on how f**king bad the headache is.'"
Doesn’t get more Jordan than that.
“That little Laker boy’s gonna take everybody one-on-one. He don’t let the game come to him. He just go out there and take. I’m going to make this s**t happen. I’m going to make this a one-on-one game. I figured after the first four attempts didn’t go in, he was gonna chill. After the first four attempts? If I was his teammate, I wouldn’t pass him the f**king ball! You want this ball again, brother, you better rebound.” — Michael Jordan, Episode 5
Well, except maybe this. Jordan ranting about a 19-year-old Kobe Bryant (“that little Laker boy”) in the locker room before the 1998 All-Star game twanged heart-strings I didn’t know I had.
“Everybody says I pushed off. Bulls**t. His energy was going that way. I didn't have to push him that way.” — Michael Jordan, Episode 10
Second point, somewhat conceded. But come on, Mike. You tapped a cheek.
“I knew that Jerry Krause loved Dan Majerle and just because Krause liked him was enough for me. You think he’s a great defensive player? OK, fine. I’m going to show you he’s not.” — Michael Jordan, Episode 6
Jordan’s 41-point average in the 1993 Finals is still an NBA Finals record.
“Clyde was a threat. I'm not saying he wasn't a threat. But me being compared to him, I took offense to that." — Michael Jordan, Episode 5
We could go all day with these.
“He (George Karl) walked past me. And I look at Ahmad, I said, ‘Really? Oh, so that’s how you going to play it?’ I said, ‘It’s a crock of s**t.’ We went to Carolina. We know Dean Smith. I see him in the summer. We play golf. And you’re going to do this? OK, fine. That’s all I needed. It became personal.” — Michael Jordan, Episode 8
“You b**ch, f**k you.” — Michael Jordan to Larry Bird, Episode 9
God bless behind-the-scenes footage.
“You can show me whatever you want. There’s no way you can convince he wasn’t an a**hole.” — Michael Jordan, Episode 4
Pick any of the Isiah moments you please. This one represented one of the more poignant Jordan iPad reactions of the series.
Best of the Teammates
“Straight up b**ches.” — Horace Grant, Episode 4
Horace Grant got as real as it gets on the Pistons walk-off after the 1991 Eastern Conference finals. (A trend that’s continued in the wake of the series)
“I’m not going to f**k my summer up” — Scottie Pippen, Episode 1
Scottie Pippen got as relatable as it gets on the rationale behind putting off foot surgery until the beginning of the 1997-98 season.
“I didn't win without Scottie Pippen, and that's why I consider him my best teammate of all time. He helped me so much in the way I approached the game, in the way I played the game. Whenever they speak Michael Jordan, they should speak Scottie Pippen.” — Episode 1
Frankly, the doc could have featured more of this.
“It’s boom, uh, click, and go back this way. Boom. Here, here. Click and go that way. Boom. That way. Click here, and go back this way.” — Dennis Rodman, Episode 3
Dennis Rodman explaining rebounding is what we are all here for..😂 pic.twitter.com/PKnVOrXP6J— Wilson Caldwell (@WilsonCwell) April 28, 2020
I could listen to Dennis Rodman talk about rebounding basketballs all day. Other highlights from this segment:
“I want to go out there and get my nose broke.”
“I want to go out there and cut.”
“Something that’s just going to bring out the hurt. The pain. I want to feel that.”
“I don’t care, whatever. What’s up.” — Dennis Rodman, Episode 3
Rodman’s response to Phil Jackson asking if he wanted to play for the Bulls. On the nose, to be sure.
“He (Jordan) knows we would never play (cards) with him in the back (of the team plane), because it’s just too much money. But he would come up to the front and say, ‘What’re you guys doing? Mind if I play?’ And I remember John Paxson looking at him and going, ‘Why in the hell would you want to play with us? We’re playing for a dollar a hand.’ And I remember he looked at him he goes, ‘Because I want to say I got your money in my pocket.’” — Will Perdue, Episode 6
Not a gambling problem, a competition problem.
Moments of Candor
“Break.” — Michael Jordan, Episode 7
Preceded by a nearly tear-filled monologue on the rationale behind his teammate tyranny. One of the emotional heights of the series.
“Look, I don’t have to do this. 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.”
“I don’t get five championships here without him.” — Kobe Bryant, Episode 5
Bryant’s posthumous appearance, in which he details his relationship with Jordan, and the inspiration he derived from him, is equal parts surreal and powerful. In Bryant’s words, everything he did, he got from Jordan. Their bond was fraternal.
“If I had to do it all over again there is no way I’d want to be considered a role model. It’s like a game that’s stacked against me. There’s no way I can win.” — Michael Jordan, Episode 6
This dovetails powerfully with a key quote from Tim Hallam, longtime Bulls PR maven: “I wouldn’t want to be like Mike. It’s an impossible task.”
“In my mind, I was thinking, ‘Alright, this is it. You’re going to retire Michael Jordan.” — Reggie Miller, Episode 8
A perfect cliffhanger for the finale of Episodes 9 and 10. Miller’s daydream nearly came to fruition — and perhaps should have.
“It’s one of those incidents where I wish it never happened. But if I had a chance to do it over again, I probably wouldn’t change it.” — Scottie Pippen on the 1.8 second game, Episode 7
Scottie Pippen is well aware the smudge Game 3 of the 1994 Eastern Conference semis is on his legacy. But he stunningly revealed he wouldn’t change a thing about it.
“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.’” — Will Perdue, Episode 7
If there was a mission statement for the entire docuseries, it would be this.