Stephen Curry: "So I'm actually learning a lot about le…

Stephen Curry: “So I’m actually learning a lot about leadership. And just really another appeciation for the demands that are put on us as professional athletes. I do understand the work that goes in, but also all the things that you have to juggle being in the spotlight. It’s crazy. Sometimes you get numb to it, sometimes you have certain coping mechanisms that you kind of stick to. But at the end of the day, all you really want to do is be great at your sport. And you kind of take the rest of it in stride the best you can.”

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Ainge also said that he and his family have been watching the ESPN documentary on Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls. Ainge made an appearance in the first episodes because he played golf with Jordan before a playoff game in which the Bulls star scored 63 points. But the former Celtics guard said it was all new to his family. “It was fun because they didn’t have too much recollection of it. When I tried to chime in and make a comment on what was happening, they gave me the hush,” Ainge said. “That was fun, to see how excited they were, and how little they knew of the era, and how little they knew about Michael. They were just intrigued by who he was.”
Stephen Curry was a guest on "The Rory & Carson Podcast" on Tuesday, and had a lot to say about the first four episodes: "The MJ doc, man -- the eras are so different. There was so much more mystery back in the day. (Michael) Jordan, (Scottie) Pippen and (Dennis) Rodman -- they show up on TV, you watch a game, everybody gets into it -- and then you really don't see them or hear from them until the next game. All that drama and the experiences that they went through -- unless you were there (you didn't really know about it) ... there's a lot of comparisons to what we went through with the Warriors these last five years in building up, to trying to stay on top and all that type of stuff.”
Where are you in the process now? At 11:15 this morning, I just gave the final sign-off to episode seven. We finish editing [episode] 10 tomorrow. The final picture lock is done, but we're working with low-res screeners, so all the master footage has to be put in. And then, for Netflix, it's going out to 185 countries, so it has to be translated into dozens of languages. Then they have to subtitle it, they have to closed-caption it. And then we do sound design, audio mix, and color correct on that as well. So it's a weeks-long process after we finish editing. So tomorrow's our last day of editing on the whole entire series, but we still have two weeks to go to finish 8, 9, and 10.
Have you heard anything from Michael's camp? I haven't. He has seen all the episodes. I've heard from their camp, because I'm still actively talking to them—we had our big notes call last night about episode 10, so we're still very much in production on these episodes. Obviously, everybody's really thrilled with the ratings and the response that it's gotten critically, and from viewers as well. So there's a lot of goodwill. I think there's a lot of long-distance high-fiving going on, because we all put so much into this over the past couple of years, that it's amazing to see. People are enjoying this exactly the way that I had hoped that they would enjoy it. And that is just a really gratifying thing.
And how did you judge the response? It was great to see people connecting with it. The interesting part about the time that we're living in, and the time that this is being shown, is that the internet is not known as a place that's unanimous, especially in their enthusiasm for something. If they're unanimous for something, it's normally to criticize it. I'm going to refrain from naming any projects that have come out lately, but I feel for people who put their heart and soul into something, and then it becomes kind of like the in-joke to tweet about it, and to make fun of a movie or a book or something like that.
But I think we're living in a time right now where cynicism is at an all-time low, because this is a communal moment for everyone. This is the great equalizer. We're all quarantined. We're all unsure of what the future holds. Michael Jordan's quarantined in a mansion in Florida, the same way that my girlfriend and I are quarantined in a small apartment in New York City. So I think that there was less of an instinct to criticize, and to immediately compare Michael and LeBron. And I think people just wanted to sit down and enjoy this. We haven't had that kind of monoculture moment during this shutdown. When the Game of Thrones finale aired, I feel like everyone gathered around their TVs and watched that, and we haven't really had that moment during the shutdown. So it was really gratifying to see people enjoying it and to get notes from strangers saying, "Thank you for this. I watched this with my sons. I shared MJ with my sons. I've been talking about him for years."
Isiah Thomas: All I know is whenever I've seen these guys, personally, upfront with each other, I have never gotten that reaction from Horace grant. never gotten that reaction from Michael Jordan. They've always been nice, pleasant, pleasant, you know that. You know, so it's easy to talk a lot of stuff on TV behind cameras or radio, but when we face to face, I haven't got the reaction from you.
Everyone knows Bryant idolized Jordan, to the point where he mimicked MJ’s moves on the court. But the similarities between them go beyond a fadeaway jumper. “It was wild, sitting there watching these episodes so far, because I feel like I am watching Kobe Bryant play in the ’80s and early ’90s with a different team,” Walton said. “(Sunday) night, you see that look in (Jordan’s) face and you hear him tell Horace Grant: ‘Don’t let them see you, don’t let them see you whine, don’t let them see that you’re in pain.’ I mean, playing with Kobe Bryant, those were (his) words.”
Laimbeer told Rachel Nichols in an interview that will air Monday on ESPN's The Jump that he still supports the Pistons' decision nearly 30 years later, regardless of public perception. "Why would I regret it now today? I don't care what the media says about me. I never did," Laimbeer said. "If I did, I'd be a basket case, especially back then. I was about winning basketball games and winning championships and did whatever I had to do to get the most out of my ability and our team -- and we did. At the end of the day, we're called world champions."
"They whined and cried for a year and a half about how bad we were for the game, but more importantly, they said we were bad people," Laimbeer said. "We weren't bad people. We were just basketball players winning, and that really stuck with me because they didn't know who we were or what we were about as individuals and our family life. But all that whining they did, I didn't want to shake their hand. They were just whiners. They won the series. Give him credit: We got old, they got past us. But OK, move on."
“The Last Dance” continued its momentum on its second night. Episodes 3 and 4 averaged 5.9 million viewers across ESPN & ESPN2 from 9-11 p.m. ET, with episode 3 (9-10 p.m.) averaging 6.1 million viewers and episode 4 (10-11 p.m.) averaging 5.7 million viewers, based on initial Nielsen reporting.
Combined with last week’s premiere episodes, the documentary series now represents the four most-viewed original content broadcasts on ESPN Networks since 2004 and is averaging 6.0 million viewers across its first four episodes based on initial Nielsen reporting. “The Last Dance” accounts for 4 of the 6 most-viewed telecasts among adults 18-34 since sports halted in mid-March.
Although Carmen Electra says during an interview in the documentary that being Rodman’s girlfriend during that season was “definitely an occupational hazard,” her continuing fondness for him was evident when she recalled their time together. “I have no regrets at all,” she told The Times. “I saw all these different sides of Dennis. He would always say, ‘No one understands me. No one gets me.’ He was very emotional at times. Then there was the sweet romantic side and the fun, eccentric guy who loved to go out and drink and wear feathered boas. But on the court, he was a savage.”
Electra knew who Rodman was. “He was the bad boy of basketball. He dated Madonna. The next thing I know, he’s inviting me to get on a flight to Chicago and see him play. Seeing the Bulls play was amazing. Michael and Scottie Pippen. That first night in Chicago, Dennis told me, ‘You’re not leaving.’ After that, it was quick. We fell for each other pretty fast.”
“One day when the Bulls had an off day from practicing, Dennis said he had a surprise for me,” she said. “He blindfolds me and we get on his motorcycle. When he finally takes my blindfold off, we’re standing at the Bulls practice facility, center court. It was crazy, like two kids in a candy store. We were eating Popsicles from the fridge and pretty much having sex all over the damn place — in the physical therapy room, in the weight room. Obviously on the court.” She bursts out laughing. “To be honest, I don’t think he’s ever worked out so hard in his life.”
"The Bulls kept trying to go through the Pistons and Isiah [Thomas] denied them but it made the Bulls the championship-winning team that they were," Magic told NBC's Today on Monday morning. "They [the Pistons] took a lot of cheap shots. I can understand why Michael was so upset. The great thing is that the Pistons made Michael Jordan be the GOAT [greatest of all time]. The reason he became the GOAT is because he had to go through the Pistons."
Magic, who faced the Pistons in the 1989 and 1990 NBA Finals acknowledged the Pistons often walked a fine line with their confrontational approach and that he wasn't surprised by Jordan's reaction. "It was always going to happen," he explained. "They still hate the Pistons today. That was a bitter rivalry. [...] You got to give the Pistons credit, they learnt from the [Boston] Celtics and you've got to learn how to win a championship before you win one."
The former Lakers star joked that when Jordan met him and Larry Bird—whose Celtics had won the three titles not captured by the Lakers during the 1980s—when the Dream Team gathered ahead of the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, he made clear the NBA had entered a new era. "He [Jordan] told Larry [Bird] and I: 'Hey there's a new sheriff in town. That's me and the Bulls,'" Magic added. "We had to start laughing and said: 'Michael you're right.' And man he did not disappoint either."
When I grabbed it off the bookshelf the other day, I had bookmarked page 17. At some point, I attempted to re-read it. With so much hype surrounding ESPN's "The Last Dance," and episodes three and four featuring the Bulls’ attempts to get past the Pistons in the Eastern Conference, I revisited the book. The Jordan Rules are mentioned early in chapter one of Smith’s book. "The Pistons advertised their 'Jordan Rules' as some secret defense that only they could deploy to stop Jordan," Smith wrote. "Those secrets were merely a series of funneling defenses that channeled Jordan toward the crowded middle, but Detroit players and coaches talked about them as if they had been devised by the Pentagon."
Former Pistons assistant coach Brendan Malone, the father of Denver Nuggets coach Mike Malone, explained the rules in episode three. "On the wings, we are going to push him to the elbow, and we’re not going to let him drive to the baseline," Malone told filmmakers. "No. 2, when he’s on top, we’re going to influence him to his left. When he got the ball in the low post, we were going to trap him from the top. That’s The Jordan Rules, and it was that simple." What happened when Jordan got what he wanted? "That’s when Laimbeer and Mahorn would go up and knock him to the ground," Malone said. Said Salley: "You have to stop him before he takes flight because you know he’s not human."
Even as a dominant teenager on probably the greatest non-American national team ever, Kukoc loved the group dynamic of sports. He experienced the powerful brew of friendship and chemistry with Dino Radja, Drazen Petrovic, Vlade Divac, and other stars in the former Yugoslavia. He sought that vibe in the NBA. Reliving the divide between Krause and the players hurts him now. "I wish Jerry were here to say his part of the story," Kukoc said. "It's easy to like Michael and Scottie and Dennis and Phil, and I like them all. I love them. Scottie was the ultimate team player. Michael will always, to me, be the best player ever. He changed the game. He made it global. Every player today should tip their hat to him. But you have to hear the other side. Jerry built the six-time champions. You have to give him credit."
"They always gave him a hard time," said Jud Buechler, who played in Chicago from 1994 to 1998. "The [Krause] thing made it very difficult for him at first," said Jim Cleamons, a longtime Jackson lieutenant. "It was unfair to Toni, honestly." Kukoc recognized any ill feelings were about Krause -- not him. He was strong enough to play through it. "Toni was just himself," Cleamons said, "and that was his salvation."
Toward the end of the third episode, Jordan recounts that Rodman asked to take a 48-hour vacation in the middle of the season. Rodman stayed a bit longer than Jordan, coach Phil Jackson and the Bulls wanted. Rodman eventually rejoined the team after Jordan went to fetch him from his bed. But Rodman had returned from Vegas at that point and was in his Chicago apartment. "He got him out of his apartment," Hehir said. "He lived across the street from the United Center. He got back. His vacation—part of it happened in Vegas of course. He got back and still felt that he was going to do a staycation for a little bit in Chicago so that's when Michael said, 'Alright, I'm going to walk across the street.' It was literally across the street. So he went with the athletic trainer. They banged on his door. (Laughs) Michael, I think he said off-camera, he garbed him by his nose ring and took him out. But yeah, that actually happened. I wish that we were better at identifying to people that Michael didn't get on a plane and go to Vegas to get him but he did grab him out of bed. Supposedly, Dennis had a flophouse apartment. There's no furniture. It was just like a couch and a mattress in one room and a TV."
Michael Jordan did not like hearing the news that former Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause was planning to fire coach Doug Collins and replace him with assistant Phil Jackson. “I wasn’t a Phil Jackson fan when he first came in,” Jordan said in episode four of “The Last Dance,” a 10-part series on Jordan and the Bulls. “He was coming in to take the ball out of my hands. Doug was putting the ball in my hands.”
“I don’t anticipate you’re going to be the scoring champion in the league,” Jackson told Jordan. “The spotlight is on the ball. If you’re the guy that’s always going to have the ball, teams can generate a defense against that. That is what happened with the Pistons the last couple of years.”
Michael Jordan did not like hearing the news that former Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause was planning to fire coach Doug Collins and replace him with assistant Phil Jackson. “I wasn’t a Phil Jackson fan when he first came in,” Jordan said in episode four of “The Last Dance,” a 10-part series on Jordan and the Bulls. “He was coming in to take the ball out of my hands. Doug was putting the ball in my hands.”
“I don’t anticipate you’re going to be the scoring champion in the league,” Jackson told Jordan. “The spotlight is on the ball. If you’re the guy that’s always going to have the ball, teams can generate a defense against that. That is what happened with the Pistons the last couple of years.”
More than three decades after the Detroit Pistons stalled Michael Jordan's ascending stardom by bouncing the Chicago Bulls from the playoffs in three straight postseasons, Jordan admitted he still harbors animosity for the "Bad Boys" team that threatened to derail his success. "Oh, I hated them," Jordan said in Episode 3 of the ESPN docuseries "The Last Dance," which aired Sunday night. "And that hate carries even to this day."
Mark Medina: Michael Jordan dismisses Isiah Thomas' explanation for not shaking hands after playoff loss. MJ: "They knew we whipped their ass already. We got past them. To me, that was better in some ways than winning a championship."
While repeatedly getting knocked down never knocked Jordan out with an injury, the energy to pick himself up, along with his insatiable hunger to prove the tactic couldn't stop him, had a cumulative effect. It left him drained, both at the end of games and the end of the series. "I don't think [Pistons coach] Chuck Daly wanted to hurt him," Perdue says. "He was just looking to wear him out."
"The Jordan Rules worked as long as Michael played a traditional way," Armstrong says. "But he made an adjustment. … He figured out he had to catch the ball in position to score. So he learned to operate from the post and on the weak side and play the game with three dribbles or less. Now when he caught it, because his footwork was so good, he could score in a multitude of ways. He was skilled enough to adapt to any situation.
Literally. Jordan knocked on the door of Rodman’s room in Las Vegas. Jordan declined to share details, but Electra revealed she hid behind a couch. "It was definitely an occupational hazard to be Dennis’ girlfriend," Electra said.
She disregarded warnings from her agent, manager and others about Rodman’s impact on her blossoming career. She had ignored scripts and began blowing off auditions as Rodman relentlessly wooed her. “One day when the Bulls had an off day from practicing, Dennis said he had a surprise for me,” she said. “He blindfolds me and we get on his motorcycle. When he finally takes my blindfold off, we’re standing at the Bulls practice facility, center court. It was crazy, like two kids in a candy store. We were eating Popsicles from the fridge and pretty much having sex all over the damn place — in the physical therapy room, in the weight room. Obviously on the court.”
Jerry Krause is here to speak for himself---through his writings. Throughout 2007, Krause spent hours and hours writing his unpublished memoir. His wife, Thelma, came up with the title: “To Set The Record Straight.” Krause, showing the sense of humor he possessed that didn’t always make it to the forefront, originally had wanted to title it: “One Million National Anthems.”
With his family’s blessing, we’re honored each Monday to share select excerpts from Krause’s unpublished---and unfinished---memoir as “The Last Dance” unspools. Call it his side of the story. Thelma Krause has received interview requests from all over the country since “The Last Dance” began. She has chosen not to talk for now, deferring to Jerry’s words instead.
They begin thusly: Doing my own writing, not in the words of another writer, is unlike any book that any sports executive has ever done. It also gives me an opportunity to tell a story that will not include things that I believe should stay behind locker room doors. Secondly, so much has been written about me that’s untrue and in many cases clouded at best. It’s a chance to tell my life story and the story of, if not the greatest sports team in American history, a team that stayed excellent over an eight-year span and did what none of its predecessors on the totem pole of greatness had to face---free agency and its star walking out in the middle of a career to go play another sport for two years.
Matt Poley, co-owner of Heirloom L.A. along with his partner, Tara Maxey, introduced "The Last Dance Menu" at their catering business last week. The traditional Chicago dishes, named after prominent characters on those Chicago Bulls teams, coincide with the 10-part documentary and served as a creative way to drum up business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We got so many orders -- almost 3,000 meals going out today. Maybe half of them have 'The Last Dance' menu stuff on it." As the top dog throughout Chicago's championship runs, the Jordan dish was an easy choice. "It's undisputed that the Chicago hot dog is the greatest hot dog of all time," Poley said. "So it's undisputed that Michael Jordan should be the greatest hot dog of all time."
Scott said that Jordan’s “bullying” was never physical, just verbal. He jokes that he’s bigger than Jordan, so he never would’ve tried anything physical.
The intrigue will go beyond Rodman’s colored hair, body piercings and on-court intensity. The show will also detail Rodman's off-court behavior, including when Rodman asked Bulls coach Phil Jackson if he could take a brief vacation in Las Vegas during the 1997-98 season. “Phil, you let this dude go on vacation, we’re not going to see him," Jordan recalled saying. "You let him go to Vegas, we’re definitely not going to see him." If this sounds bizarre, well, it is. Rodman also skipped practice between Games 3 and 4 of the 1998 NBA Finals so he could attend a WCW wrestling match in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
The kicker: the Bulls allowed Rodman's quirky behavior because it did not affect his on-court excellence. It only enhanced it. “There was a real connection that existed that gave Dennis the freedom and space that he needed,” said Golden State Warriors coach and former Bulls guard Steve Kerr recently on a conference call. “It wasn’t a thing where we were all complaining of Dennis not making it to a practice. We sort of understood that he was his own man and he did so much for our team that we allowed him to have that freedom."
Former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman perfected his role masterfully with rebounding, hustle and even good behavior. But once Scottie Pippen returned to the lineup after missing the first 35 games because of foot surgery, Rodman announced something that left the Bulls worried. “I need a vacation,” Michael Jordan recalled Rodman saying. So at least for a day, NBA hoops fans will be entertained. Sure, it's frustrating that it's Day 46 without sports because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. But “The Last Dance” documentary on the Bulls has given sports fans something to look forward to. Episode 3 of the documentary's 10-part series should offer enough levity. The reason? The show will focus on Rodman (ESPN, 9 pm ET).
“I’m hoping the other episodes are brighter and more of a celebration of basketball instead of who is guilty or to blame, and why didn’t they win eight championships or 10,” former Chicago Bulls forward Toni Kukoc said in a phone interview with NBC commenting on “The Last Dance” first two episodes. “The world was so happy when that was happening. So I don’t know what people are mad at.”
Episodes 3 and 4 will run Sunday and will spotlight the rivalry between the Bulls and the ‘Bad Boys’ Pistons, a dynasty that topped Chicago in three consecutive playoffs en route to winning championships in 1989 and 1990 before falling to the Bulls in 1991.
It was a heated rivalry known for “The Jordan Rules,” the nickname given to the defensive strategy the Pistons used to slow Jordan down. “I’ve said this before, and I’ve been on record saying that we have a great deal of respect and admiration for Michael Jordan in terms of the way he played and what he’s done for our game,” Thomas said. “The competition that we had on the floor was just that. It was (just) competition on the floor … We tried to win. And really, that was it. It was no hidden agendas or anything like that. It was my team against your team, and let’s see who wins.”
A big part of that Bulls dynasty was the team's struggle to overcome the Detroit Pistons, and no punches are pulled when discussing the Bad Boys teams of the late '80s and early '90s. "I hated 'em," Jordan says of the back-to-back championship-winning Pistons. "And the hate carries even to this day."
“I actually saw Michael last night on Zoom,” Thompson, who is the uncle of Warriors All-Star guard Klay Thompson and brother to former Laker and No. 1 pick Mychal Thompson, said on our “Tampering” podcast on Monday. “We had a meeting, and I recounted this story to him and a couple of other people in the Zoom meeting. I said, ‘Michael, remember when I came up to you (late in that ’97-98 season) with a list and you looked at me like I was crazy? I said this is a list of things that I think we need to capture before the playoffs start, because it’s going to be too intense to get this stuff off the court.” “He looked at me like I was nuts. And I said the first thing was we want to get (footage of) you at home, you know with your family. I want to get you in a hotel room just being by yourself, doing whatever you do, just life away from the game. And I said I want to get you driving to the game, and the sixth thing is that I need your phone number.”
“Jordan didn’t balk at any of the first five, but (on) the sixth, he goes, ‘Why do you need my phone number?’” Thompson continued. “I said, ‘Because you’re impossible to talk to alone. There’s always somebody in your ear. There’s always media. There’s always somebody around. And I need to run things by you just to make sure we’re good and if we’re comfortable with this.’ He looked at me, he wrote down his number and he slid the piece of paper to me. When he did that, I knew I had the ultimate respect and trust from Michael, because he doesn’t give his number out to anybody.’”
Of course, Kukoc ultimately proved to be a critical cog in the second three-peat, earning the respect of Pippen and Jordan along the way. “When I got there (in 1993), I understand the part because I had that privilege in Europe where younger players had to prove themselves and you give them grief. It’s just part of being a new guy,” Kukoc said. “My difference is I was getting into the world champion Chicago Bulls. Everybody is great. Everybody knows what needs to be done. It wasn’t easy. But I can honestly say, regardless of what Scottie said before, he was a huge help to me, especially that first year. He was absolutely awesome towards me.”
Jason Jones: Walton said he hopes the entire Kings team is watching "The Last Dance." Believes there's a lot to learn from what MJ and others say about "challenges of winning to becoming a dynasty."
Nick Friedell: Walton said he enjoyed watching 'Last Dance' and is hopeful his team learned from doc. "I did have some good laughs at my dad getting worked out there. He slammed the ball a couple times on two fouls he had. I think he fouled out of that game, [MJ] had 63 but it was fun to watch"
Josh Lewenberg: VanVleet on staying in touch with his Raptors teammates: "There's a couple group chats. Me and Kyle are talking pretty much everyday... We watch the MJ doc and people want to talk about that. We're a pretty close-knit team."
So, Thorn wanted to know if one of them would fall to him and Trail Blazers GM Stu Inman showed the Bulls his hand. "Stu Inman... told me a month before the draft that if Sam Bowie passed the physical they were going to take him," Thorn recalled. "About a week before the draft, I called Inman and asked him had Bowie taken the physical and he said 'yes.' And I asked him did he pass it and he said 'yes.'" The Bulls knew a month in advance of the draft that Jordan would fall to them if Houston took Olajuwon.
George Karl: Watching The Last Dance made me think about the @scottiepippen for @sk40_reignman trade from 25 years ago. It was a done deal until Sonics owner Barry Ackerly got wind of fan reaction to trading Shawn and bailed! Not sure there’s a bigger non-trade in NBA history!
Jordan also spent part of the documentary calling Pippen his “best teammate of all time,” but that’s still a pretty strong stance to take against the player universally credited as your No. 2. According to Kerr, however, the rest of the Bulls weren’t resentful against Pippen at the time, siding with him over Bulls management and owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Per ESPN: “Asked whether there was resentment from other Bulls players over Pippen's decision, Kerr said, ‘No, not at all.’ “Everyone respected Scottie so much,” Kerr said. “We felt his frustration. He probably should have been the second-highest-paid guy in the NBA or definitely top-five. “So we all felt for him, nobody resented him for having that surgery. Later, we all understood, ‘let's give him his space, and he's going to be there for the second stretch of the season for us’.”
Jackson was a Continental Basketball Association coach ostracized from the NBA for his views and book “Maverick.” Krause gave him a job and platform to become one of the greatest coaches of all time where others wouldn’t. “(Krause) couldn’t get out of his own way,” Ryan said. “Socially, Jerry messed himself up with these people. There’s no question, but I’m telling you he monumentally helped build that team … it’s disgraceful … to demean this guy now.”
Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle responded to his brief, not-so-glamorous appearance in the opening episode of ESPN's "The Last Dance" with a wry bit of self-deprecating humor. "There must have been an exhaustive search to find footage of me actually PLAYING in an NBA playoff game," Carlisle wrote in a text reply to an inquiry about his thoughts on the clip that showed him as a Boston Celtics reserve guard being torched by Michael Jordan for a dunk after a baseline spin.
The documentary, showing footage from Jordan's 49-point performance in the 1986 playoff opener at Boston Garden, quickly cut to a clip of Carlisle awkwardly scratching the back of his neck while lining up for a Jordan free throw. (That was after a foul by Carlisle that was actually committed the next possession.) "I mean, Carlisle just wants his mommy," the color commentator said.
Jordan took an unflinching stance in Episode 2 of the documentary series "The Last Dance" when addressing then-teammate Scottie Pippen's decision to delay foot surgery until shortly before the 1997-98 season. "Scottie was wrong in that scenario," Jordan said in the episode, which debuted Sunday night on ESPN. "He could've got his surgery done as soon as the season was over and be ready for the season. What Scottie was trying to do was trying to force management to change his contract. And [owner Jerry Reinsdorf] was never going to do that."
Asked whether there was resentment from other Bulls players over Pippen's decision, Kerr said, "No, not at all." "Everyone respected Scottie so much," Kerr said. "We felt his frustration. He probably should have been the second-highest-paid guy in the NBA or definitely top-five. So we all felt for him, nobody resented him for having that surgery. Later, we all understood, let's give him his space, and he's going to be there for the second stretch of the season for us."
ESPN’s attempt at a definitive Michael Jordan documentary with “The Last Dance” started off strong Sunday night, but it wasn’t without error. Eagle-eyed viewers noticed a clear mistake during a segment about the 1985-86 Chicago Bulls. NBA standings for that year shown in the second episode of the documentary featured a name that wouldn’t enter the league until 1997. The Washington Wizards.
The network told NBC Sports Washington that it was simply an oversight and would be fixed for future airings of the documentary: “This was an error on the graphic,” an ESPN spokesperson said, adding that it “will be fixed in future re-airs.”
In defending Pippen, Green felt it was wrong for Michael Jordan to be critical of Pippen given the money disparity between the two superstars. He also felt like Jordan should've had Pippen's back more. "And so I was kind of a little disappointed when Mike, still to this day, is like 'Scottie was wrong.' Like, no. You roll with your dogs, because they ride with you," Green argued. "(Jordan's) making $36 million, and (Pippen's) making $2 (million), yet you're saying when you mention (Michael Jordan's) name there's no way you can not mention Scottie Pippen's name? And he's just supposed to sit there? That don't make sense. It's very easy to say, like, 'no, you should be good' (when) your house is huge, you got $36 million coming in, and this man got $2 (million). That's crazy."
But the timing of his agreeing to cooperate with the producer Mike Tollin is apt: As Tollin said in an article in The New York Times last week, Jordan’s cooperation to participate in the documentary and greenlight the release of the long-hidden footage came on the same day that James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were celebrating winning the N.B.A. championship in 2016. That is some grain of salt. “I take a redeye to Charlotte for a meeting, I turn on ESPN in the morning as I’m getting dressed, and there’s the Cavaliers’ parade as I’m heading in to see Michael,” Tollin said of his first face-to-face meeting with Jordan and his business advisers Estee Portnoy and Curtis Polk. “He said yes in the room, which doesn’t happen too often in my business.”
When teammates are described in unflattering situations, including drug use, Jordan and the documentary team make clear that he steered clear. As Jordan says, he didn’t go to clubs. He didn’t smoke or drink (at the time, he notes, though a glass of what appears to be bourbon sits next to him during some interviews). “I was looking just to get some rest, get up and go play,” Jordan says. In other words, you should Be Like Mike.
According to a Forbes story from last year, Jordan’s drink of choice is tequila—specifically extra añejo, a relatively new category of tequila that Jordan’s own tequila brand bottles and sells. Lew Bryson, the author of the recent book Whiskey Master Class, told me this type of tequila fits the profile of the drink shown in last night’s documentary. “Jordan is a sharp marketing/business guy, so I’d have to guess he’s drinking his tequila,” Bryson writes via email. “And since he can… he’s probably drinking the extra añejo.” Jordan is likely drinking tequila that costs about $1,600, but he probably gets a discount. For completists: It also appears Jordan is drinking from a Waterford Crystal glass.
The first two episodes of “The Last Dance,” a 10-part series about legendary guard Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, attracted the most viewers for a documentary in ESPN history, the network announced Monday. The two 60-minute episodes that aired Sunday night averaged 6.1 million viewers, according to ESPN. The first episode averaged 6.3 million between 9-10 p.m. ET, and the second averaged 5.8 million between 10-11 p.m. ET. According to ESPN, its “You Don’t Know Bo” on former two-sport star Bo Jackson was the previous most-watched documentary on its airwaves. That film averaged 3.6 million viewers in 2012.
But ask Burrell, and he appreciated Jordan's leadership style as a teammate. We did just that on the most recent episode of the Bulls Talk Podcast. "I just hope people don't get a bad view of Michael after this movie," Burrell said. "What he said and what he did in practice, the way he pushed me, was all in motivation, to motivate me to be a better player, to be mentally prepared for any tough challenge that might face me during that year. There's nothing like playing for the Chicago Bulls... You have to be ready every day and that's what he wanted me to be to make myself better and make the team better. "There's no free rides, and that's one of the things he said. There's no free rides in Chicago and you better earn your keep."
Appearing this week on ESPN’s “The Lowe Post” podcast, Kerr spoke on the megahit documentary series about the 1997-98 Bulls squad that he was on and said that Toni Kukoc or another teammate deserved a promo spot more. “I’m almost embarrassed, I see these graphics for ‘The Last Dance,’ these promos, and they have Michael [Jordan], Scottie [Pippen], Dennis [Rodman], Phil [Jackson], and me,” said Kerr. “I understand it, the reason I’m on there is because I’m the one who’s famous because I’m the coach of the Warriors, and so people recognize me, and maybe people wouldn’t recognize Toni Kukoc or Ron Harper or Luc Longley. Maybe their faces wouldn’t mean as much to a young generation because this was 22 years ago. “But that should really be Toni, I think, on that photo, on that promo because he was an incredible player,” Kerr added.
Storyline: Michael Jordan Documentary
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September 17, 2021 | 4:34 am EDT Update
Frank Vogel’s former assistant coach Jason Kidd left the Los Angeles Lakers to become the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks. He joined fellow former NBA stars Richard Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins on ESPN’s The Jump to talk about his visit to Slovenia for the signing of a 5-year $207 million super max extension with Luka Doncic. “One, [Slovenia] is a beautiful country,” Kidd recalled his visit to Luka’s homeland. “I had a lot of fun and spending time at dinner with Luka and also at the press conference. What an incredible 22-year-old. He’s wise before his years. So I’m just excited to have the opportunity to coach him.”
“It was incredible again. Another beautiful place,” Kidd said on ESPN’s The Jump. “I got to hang out with KP. We had a couple dinners, I got to see him work out. But I also got to just see him on his turf I think a lot of times we don’t get to see our Europeans their homes. So I got the opportunity to go over there and hang out and we had a great time. “KP’s incredible not just a basketball player but a person. We all know.. well, I just learned that he loves the fights, the boxing matches and stuff like that. You look at just learning something new about a person by going to their hometown was something that I was excited about doing and I had a great time.”
There’s no denying that Denver Nuggets stud Michael Porter Jr. is one of the brightest young talents in the NBA today. However, for those who may not be too familiar with his injury history, there was actually one point in his career that people doubted if he would ever be able to play again. Apparently, one of his biggest non-believers happened to be the head doctor for the Los Angeles Clippers. The Nuggets forward remembers that exact moment to this very day: “All Top 10 teams have their doctors there and they’re just evaluating me,” Porter said in a recent appearance on JJ Redick’s The Old Man & the Three podcast. “The guy from the Clippers was the head doctor and he’s the one that wrote the report, it’s like, ‘yeah, he probably will never play again.’”
In this Club Shay Shay clip, the new Phoenix Suns big man JaVale McGee tells Shannon Sharpe what to expect in his former Golden State Warriors teammate Klay Thompson’s return: “I expect the old Klay. I can maybe see him slacking on defense in the first month because in the offseason you don’t get those reps. But offensively, he didn’t hurt his arm, so that boy is going to shoot.”
Storyline: Klay Thompson Injury
Context? We talked to the 30-year-old, 6’5″, 205 lb. fighter just days before he’s set to face 6th ranked LHW, Anthony Smith … and we asked the 11th ranked fighter if he ever rolled around with 6’3″ Williams at their gym, Fortis MMA in Dallas. “I was training for a fight, and coach was like, ‘Deron, get in.’ And, I already knew he hooped, and I knew who he was, but I never got to go with him,” Ryan said, “I think it was my 2nd or my 3rd round with a fresh body, and you put Deron in, I was like, ‘Oh s**t, nice, I get a round off.’ Little did I know Deron used to wrestle. And, he was about 230 at the time.”
Gabrielle Union, the wife of former Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade, recently opened up about the trauma she endured when Wade had a child with another woman during their relationship. Union and Wade weren’t married at the time, but they were several years into a relationship with each other. “In 2013, before we were married, Dwyane had a baby with another woman,” Union wrote in her new memoir. “It should go without saying that we were not in a good place in our relationship at the time that child was conceived. But we were in a much better place when he finally told me about the pregnancy. To say I was devastated is to pick a word on a low shelf for convenience. There are people — strangers who I will never meet — who have been upset that I have not previously talked about that trauma. I have not had words, and even after untold amounts of therapy I am not sure I have them now. But truth matters.”