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How Michael Jordan once shut down Bulls teammate Scott Burrell with one-liner

Scott Burrell, Ron Harper and Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls

CHICAGO - 1998: (L-R) Scott Burrell, Ron Harper and Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls look on during practice circa 1998 in Chicago, Illinios. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1998 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Michael Jordan, according “The Last Dance” director Jason Hehir, was concerned footage of him and Bulls teammate Scott Burrell would make Jordan look like a “horrible guy.”

Just how did Jordan treat Burrell?

Author Roland Lazenby, via Mark Medina of USA Today:

No one ever wanted to play MJ one-on-one. But Scott Burrell kept insisting on it. Steve Kerr just couldn’t believe how stupid that was, that Scott would poke the bear like that. Burrell just kept picking MJ to play one-on-one. Scott got close to him. He got within a point, but Jordan won. Scott wanted to play again. So Jordan said, ‘I’m sure you do want to play again. You want to tell your grandkids that you beat Michael Jordan. What the hell am I going to tell my grandkids? That I beat Scott Burrell?’

Jordan was a larger-than-life figure. He was viewed as the greatest player of all time while still in his prime. He was a huge celebrity, his fame transcending far beyond basketball. That’s part of what made Chicago’s great records especially impressive. Jordan got every opponent’s best effort while simultaneously managing a massive public image. Any slip by Jordan and the Bulls was a major story. There was always so much pressure on him.

And Jordan distilled that entire complex situation into a devastating quip at the expense of Burrell.

To paraphrase, f— them grandkids.