Bryant started working on something completely differen…

Bryant started working on something completely different the last few years of his career. He’d call authors such as J.K. Rowling and directors such as Darren Aronofsky. He asked to visit the set of “Modern Family” and sit in on writers rooms. He kept journals of movie and television projects he’d like to work out. He fleshed out characters and story arcs for children’s books. He was bursting at the seams with ideas and concepts he’d put into production as soon as basketball was over. When he learned that Jordan had the rights to footage shot of his final season, Bryant commissioned a camera crew to film his final seasons. Bryant even inquired about producing the documentary on Jordan’s final season.

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Rod Beard: I talked to #Pistons Isiah Thomas about the Michael Jordan's "hate" comment in #TheLastDance: "I’m really surprised that he has that kind of hate and anger. I’ve never experienced that being around him. My son was wearing Michael Jordan jerseys and shoes."
While sipping on a glass of wine during a 30-plus minute discussion on Bird and Rapinoe’s Instagram series called “A Touch More,” the Miami Heat’s All-Star wing spoke about life amid the COVID-19 pandemic and said he has not tuned into the popular “The Last Dance” documentary that chronicles Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls. “I haven’t seen this MJ doc. I haven’t seen it,” said Butler, who still hasn’t signed with a new brand after his endorsement deal with the Jordan Brand ended a few months ago. “Everybody around my house puts it on every TV. And I’m just like you know what, everybody is watching it so I’m gonna go outside and work on my true calling and I just kick a soccer ball around.”
But the current iteration of Jordan, seen on ESPN's "The Last Dance," is different than the player whom Kerr knew. "I've never seen Michael so open," Kerr recently said on the Runnin' Plays podcast. "I think it's the best thing. ... He was always very guarded."
Jordan -- who famously was closed off during his playing days -- has been extremely candid in the 10-part docu-series, which continues Sunday with episodes 5 and 6. In the first episode, Jordan recalled the time he walked into his teammates' hotel room to find marijuana and cocaine. Two episodes later, he called former Detroit guard Isiah Thomas an "a--hole" in response to the Pistons walking off the floor just before the Bulls eliminated them from the 1991 playoffs. "He never seemed vulnerable," Kerr said of Jordan. "I think that was part of his persona. He wasn't vulnerable to everything and everybody, you know, [he was] indomitable, knowing nobody could touch him. And he walked into that arena, and he was just dominant over every person in that building -- opponents, coaches, teammates, referees, fans."
Jordan has never hidden his dislike for Isiah Thomas. But that didn't stop him from paying Thomas quite the compliment in the discussion of why Thomas was famously left off the Dream Team for the 1992 Olympics. "I respect Isiah Thomas' talent," Jordan said. "To me, if the best point guard of all time is Magic Johnson, and right behind him is Isiah Thomas. No matter how much I hate him, I respect his game."
"Before the Olympics, [selection committee chairman] Rod Thorn calls me and says we would love for you to be on the Dream Team," Jordan said. "I said, 'Who's all playing?' "He said, 'What's that mean?' I said, 'Who's all playing?' He says, 'Well, the guy you are talking about and you are thinking about is not going to be playing.' It was insinuated I was asking about him, but I never threw his name in there. "You want to attribute it to me, go ahead. Be my guest. But it wasn't me."
"I don't think that statement needs to be corrected because I said it in jest on a bus with Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen," Jordan said. "It was thrown off the cuff. My mother asked to do a PSA for Harvey Gantt, and I said, 'Look, Mom, I'm not speaking out of pocket about someone that I don't know. But I will send a contribution to support him.' Which is what I did. "I do commend Muhammad Ali for standing up for what he believed in. But I never thought of myself as an activist. I thought of myself as a basketball player. "I wasn't a politician when I was playing my sport. I was focused on my craft. Was that selfish? Probably. But that was my energy. That's where my energy was."
After Converse told Jordan that it had too many big-name players -- including Magic Johnson and Larry Bird -- to make Jordan a front man for the company, the choice came down to Adidas or Nike. Adidas wasn't willing to give Jordan his own shoe, but Nike was. There was just one problem: Jordan didn't want to meet with the shoe company to discuss it. "I couldn't even get him to get on the damn plane and go visit the campus," Jordan's agent, David Falk, said.
Which in tone and substance sounded a lot like how modern-day Jordan defended himself in the documentary. “I’m actually playing golf with people all the time… and if they want to gamble, we gamble. The character of those individuals, I found out later what kind of people I was playing with. I learned that lesson. But the act of gambling? I didn’t do anything wrong… “I never bet on games; I only bet on myself and that was golf… I told [the NBA league office] exactly what was happening,” Jordan’s takeaway line was that he did not have a gambling problem. “I have a competition problem.” It was enough of a problem that the NBA was paying attention back in 1993, but the late NBA Commissioner David Stern told the filmmakers, “It never reached epic crisis levels in my view.”
To the end, Wozniak’s business-like approach endeared him to the six-time champion. “He wasn’t the type to ask for anything,” Nicholi said. “The only time he’d ask Michael for stuff was if it was for fundraisers and charitable things within the community. Michael was very pro-police. His father was military. His brother was military. So Michael always without flinching would give my dad paraphernalia, autographs to raise money for fallen officers’ families.”
None of this is to say that Wozniak couldn’t give it back to Jordan every now and then. The nation caught a glimpse of that swagger on Sunday thanks to footage of a game of quarters, but that wasn’t the only time Wozniak got the best of MJ. “My dad beat him at pool and he came home early from like a Christmas party,” Nicholi said. “I’m like, ‘What happened?’ He’s like, ‘Ah, I beat Michael at pool and Michael didn’t like it, so …’”
We knew this was coming: Jordan talking about Bryant, and Bryant talking about Jordan. The latter comes in a flash-forward interview, a recent one with Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on January 26. Speaking of his basketball idol, Bryant tells the cameras, “He’s like my big brother … What you get from me, is from him. I don’t get five championships here without him. He guided me so much and gave me so much great advice.”
“I respect Isiah Thomas’s talent,” Jordan says today. “To me, the best point guard of all-time is Magic Johnson, and right behind him is Isiah Thomas.” Jordan reaffirms in The Last Dance that he didn’t tell Dream Team overseer Rod Thorn to keep Thomas off the 1992 Olympics squad, though his denial is notably understated compared to some of his other more boisterous pronouncements.
Since Thomas, then one of the most accomplished players in the NBA, was left off the Dream Team in 1992, it’s largely been attributed to his poor relationships with some of the players who made the roster, namely Jordan. In Episode 5, Jordan says when he asked Rod Thorn, then the head of USA Basketball, who was playing, Thorn told him, “The guy you’re talking about, who you’re thinking about, he’s not gonna be playing.”
Part of the documentary also looked at the book, "The Jordan Rules," which contained information that described Jordan as being demeaning and borderline abusive toward teammates. Jordan said he thought former teammate Horace Grant was responsible for providing the writer, Sam Smith, with information, but Grant vehemently denied it. Among the revelations in the book was the rumor that Jordan once punched teammate Will Perdue during practice. Perdue joined CBS Sports HQ on Sunday night and confirmed the story, but said it wasn't a big deal because fights were commonplace at Bulls practices (Video above). "He did, and I wasn't the only one," Perdue said. "That's how competitive our practices were. That wasn't the only fight, that was one of numerous. But because it involved Michael Jordan, and it leaked out, that it became a big deal. And the funny thing was, in that practice that it happened, we basically separated, regrouped and kept practicing -- it wasn't like that was the end of practice. Stuff like that was common, because that's how competitive our practices were.
Jordan became a pitchman unlike any other before him, and to some degree, it turns out that was the plan all along. Agent David Falk explains in Episode 5 how he wanted to treat Jordan like a boxer or tennis player – an individual star – instead of how stars in team sports were typically marketed. But Nike, the company that landed Jordan, never would’ve gotten a meeting if it weren’t for MJ’s mom, who convinced him to take the meeting. “I go into that meeting not wanting to be there,” Jordan says in Episode 5. “Nike made this big pitch. And Falk was like, ‘You gotta be a fool if you’re not taking this deal. This is the best deal.’”
It's wild to consider that Michael's parents each changed the course of sneaker history. Not once, but twice. "I was Adidas," Jordan reveals. Deloris Jordan, who convinced her son to take the Swoosh meeting, remembers Michael saying: "I am not going to Nike, momma."
Still, it didn’t look good when it emerged that Jordan wrote a $57,000 check to Slim Bouler to cover a gambling debt, and a golfing acquaintance, Richard Esquinas, said Jordan owed him $1.2 million. Jordan had to testify in court where Bouler was on trial facing money laundering and drug conspiracy charges. (Jordan once skipped a White House visit to golf with Bouler, according to the documentary.) The league took interest and questioned Jordan. “I never bet on games; I only bet on myself and that was golf. … I told them exactly what was happening,” Jordan said. Former NBA Commissioner David Stern told filmmakers: “It never reached epic crisis levels in my view.”
A year later, in Game 1 of the 1993 finals against the Suns, Jordan used Dan Majerle to make the same point to Krause. “I knew that Jerry Krause loved Dan Majerle,” Jordan says, “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 that he’s not.” Jordan toyed with Majerle, pausing before blowing past him, crossing him to the next state over, and chastising Krause without saying a word.
“My thing with [Jordan] is, ‘It’s not like you beat us by 20,’ ” Oakley added. “Most games went down to two, three possessions. Y’all made shots. We didn’t. The best player won. Michael was a better player than Patrick hands down.” Ewing averaged 25.8 points and 11.2 rebounds and shot 53 percent in the six game series — all in line with his regular-season numbers. In the series-turning Game 5, Ewing had 33 points on 12-of-23 shooting and nine rebounds. In the documentary, Ewing says, “It was extremely physical. It wasn’t really a foul until you drew blood.” Asked about the remark, Oakley sniffed, “A lot of guys who talk now didn’t say that stuff when they played basketball.’’
Perhaps counterintuitively, one person not caught up on every episode that’s aired thus far is one of Jordan’s former Bulls teammates, Mike Brown. While Utah Jazz fans know and love the “Brown Bear” for the five seasons he spent in Salt Lake City as a backup big man, he actually spent the previous two years — the first two of his NBA career — with Bulls, back in 1986-87 and ’87-88.
“ESPN never called me about ‘The Last Dance,’ ” Peter Vecsey said. “It’s absolutely amazing to me that they could be that stupid. I had so many inside stories that were printed that they are not even going to address it. It’s amazing. They interviewed Sam Smith, they couldn’t avoid that. I was involved in all of that stuff [during the 1990s].”
Marc Berman: Former Post NBA columnist Peter Vescey ticked off ESPN didn’t interview him for Last Dance. “It’s almost amazing to me they could be that stupid,” Vescey told The Boston Globe.
ESPN’s Michael Jordan documentary, “The Last Dance,” has overtaken Netflix Inc.’s “Tiger King” as the most in-demand documentary in the world, a boost for the cable giant at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has shut down live sports and slashed its audience ratings. “The Last Dance” was one of the 20 most in-demand shows in the world this week, according to Parrot Analytics, a research firm that tracks audience interest using data that includes social-media conversations and piracy. The show is even more popular in the U.S., where it ranked as 11th this week.
Appearing on ESPN’s “Jalen & Jacoby” aftershow following Sunday’s Last Dance telecast, Hehir described the difficulties with interviewing Rodman and the unusual requests from the peculiar NBA star in exchange for his time. “Interviewing Dennis Rodman is like trying to interview a feral cat,” said Hehir. “He’s not looking in the same place, he’s got those big shades on. Every other sentence was going back to Kim Jong-un and how he was gonna be in the history books.”
Hehir went on to explain that Rodman showed up for his interview two hours late and constantly had to be reminded about the subject at hand. Additionally, Rodman said he’d give Hehir 10 minutes when the filmmaker was expecting to talk for hours. But the rebounding sensation relented once Hehir catered to his demands.
Although McHale has certainly enjoyed seeing his Celtics beat Jordan’s Bulls, he hasn’t exactly enjoyed the way former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause has been portrayed. McHale was speaking on The Usual Suspects, which airs on ESPN’s 97.5 The Game and had the below to say. Jerry kind of looked like a villain, and he’s not a bad guy. He really wasn’t a bad guy. He was pretty easy to deal with as a GM when I dealt with him. He did put together a heck of a team. I do think there was too much of everybody ripping him because Michael wasn’t his pick.
James Stern co-directed “Michael Jordan to the Max,” which was released in May 2000. Narrated by Lawrence Fishburne, the IMAX documentary details His Airness’ greatness as the Bulls dynasty closed with their sixth championship. In a recent interview with The Athletic, NBA Entertainment producer Andy Thompson revealed that one reason for the 22-year delay for the release of ESPN’s “The Last Dance” was because of Stern’s and Don Kempf’s IMAX film. Jordan coming out of retirement to play for the Wizards also played a role. And NBA commissioner Adam Silver, then the head of NBA Entertainment, told ESPN that Jordan also controlled when Thompson’s footage could see the light of day. Regardless, Stern’s film came first.
“What happened was I approached Adam and (then NBA commissioner) David Stern about this. And they said, ‘It sounds interesting. But we have this other film going,’” Stern said in a phone interview from California. “I said, ‘Well, they’re very different markets. One doesn’t preclude the other. Do them both.’ They said that’s possible and told us to shoot the last few games of the regular season in IMAX and show us a test. They said they wouldn’t guarantee at all that we’d go ahead. “Don and Steve Kempf who had put the money together agreed to roll the dice. We had a screening for the NBA and their brass. And David said, ‘It really is great on IMAX. I think we need to go in this direction now. We have time to get back to the other film.’ I figured they were different markets. And it wasn’t my call. I was the director and producer, not the financier or the NBA. It was up to the NBA to make the decision. Andy had shot that whole season 24-7. I told Andy how terrible I felt as a filmmaker.”
Director Jason Hehir says while they would have loved to feature him in the series, reasons beyond their control made it not possible. ‘It was not due to our unwillingness to find him, or his unwillingness to participate, it strictly was a budgetary concern,’ Mr Hehir told ABC News Breakfast. ‘So I regret for our Australian audience, that Luc doesn't sit down for an interview in this but his face and his presence certainly were felt.’
First, on Jordan, Falk went on and on about how he would not only dominate today's NBA if he were in his prime, he would basically be twice as good as he was. "With virtually zero defense, no hand-checking, I think if Jordan played today; if he was in his prime in today's rules, I think he'd average between 50 and 60 a game. I think he'd shoot 75% from the floor. If you couldn't hand-check him, he would be completely unstoppable," Falk said. "Now that I watch [the documentary], I realize that, unless you're legally blind, you can't possibly think that there's another player who ever played the game that's remotely in the league that he's in. Nobody."
"I hope personally, and I'm sure it won't, that the doc ends all talk about like is Jordan competitive with LeBron? He's in a different league. If you don't see that with your eyes, maybe the doctor's office can help because you should have an eye test," he said.
First, on Jordan, Falk went on and on about how he would not only dominate today's NBA if he were in his prime, he would basically be twice as good as he was. "With virtually zero defense, no hand-checking, I think if Jordan played today; if he was in his prime in today's rules, I think he'd average between 50 and 60 a game. I think he'd shoot 75% from the floor. If you couldn't hand-check him, he would be completely unstoppable," Falk said. "Now that I watch [the documentary], I realize that, unless you're legally blind, you can't possibly think that there's another player who ever played the game that's remotely in the league that he's in. Nobody."
"I hope personally, and I'm sure it won't, that the doc ends all talk about like is Jordan competitive with LeBron? He's in a different league. If you don't see that with your eyes, maybe the doctor's office can help because you should have an eye test," he said.
Mr. Burns has been spending the quarantine walking, writing poetry and working on the seven documentary films he has in production. But he has yet to watch ESPN’s popular Michael Jordan documentary series, “The Last Dance.” The series counts the basketball great’s production company as a partner, an arrangement Mr. Burns says he would “never, never, never, never” agree to. “I find it the opposite direction of where we need to be going,” he says.
The main focus in the latest “Last Dance’’ was Thomas and the Pistons walking off the floor without shaking hands after they were swept in Game 4. It was Bill Laimbeer’s idea, and Boston had done it to the Pistons years earlier, but it’s the way Thomas has been trying to spin it in his favor that irks many former Bulls, including Will Perdue.
While the documentary has shown Jordan’s disdain for Thomas, the former Chicago high school legend, Perdue made it very clear that a long line of players after Jordan also feel that way The feeling is Thomas has been trying to excuse his actions for years, changing the reasoning at least four times. The latest was Thomas saying Jordan painted the Pistons as thugs and that was “racialized language.’’
“Here’s the problem I have, and I’ll be very honest about it,’’ Perdue said. “We all made mistakes, we all did things we shouldn’t have done, heat of the moment, got emotional, but the problem I have with Isiah — and listen, those that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, I’ve made plenty of mistakes, personally and professionally — but what I don’t like is when you try and defend yourself as something you’re not. “Was [Thomas] a great high school player in the Chicagoland area? Absolutely. I had many tell me he might have been the best. Was he a great player in college in Indiana? Absolutely. Might have been one of the best to ever play there. Was he one of the best point guards ever in the NBA? Absolutely, and I respect him for all of that. That dude was a magician with the basketball. But what I don’t like is when guys step up and talks about ‘racialized language’ … what in the hell?
“But what bothers me the most and sticks out, when I first came into the league, and guys that I know personally, that played against him on a regular basis, talked about how dirty he was. Talked about how cheap he was as a player. He used to have this sweep move with the off foot that trip the guy he was guarding, and the officials would always put their hands together that they give when it’s incidental contact, play on. And as you’re tumbling to the ground, he would steal the ball and go the other direction. It was just dirty. Some can say, ‘Hey, if they’re not going to call it you might as well do it.’ But what also stood out for me that I never understood, he drove the CBA [Continental Basketball Association] into the ground because [former commissioner] David Stern wouldn’t pay him a couple more million dollars to buy it. How many people lost jobs because of that, and franchises that were legendary franchises like in Sioux Falls where thousands would come to the games. Coaches, players, people lost their jobs, but yet he was so petty that he just ran it into the ground and didn’t put any more money into it because he bought it and thought he could flip it, have the NBA buy it for millions of dollars in profit. “Now he’s out there whining about a personal attack on him. He’s basically trying to get every angle to get people on his side.
Ehlo replayed that possession in his mind, thinking about what he could’ve -- or should’ve -- done differently, now able to admit a few fundamental mistakes. One thing Ehlo doesn’t remember: Ron Harper’s version, which he relayed in Episode 3 of “The Last Dance” -- a hit ESPN documentary that chronicles the Chicago Bulls’ quest for a sixth NBA championship in 1998.
“I never said I was a Jordan stopper like Gerald Wilkins or anything,” Ehlo said during an extensive call with this week. “But back then Harp and me were on the court at the same time and he was our big offensive threat. So, when I came in it was a no-brainer that I would guard Jordan so Harp could rest on defense and play on offense.
During an appearance on the Jamie and Stoney Show on Tuesday, the Pistons legend claimed he “really was surprised” by MJ’s comments: “We’ve been in public places before, had interactions with each other, have gone out to dinner. He, Ahmad Rashad and I have had dinner together. My son, he’s given him his gym shoes, jerseys. I’ve seen him in public several times, and I’ve never got any type of hostility or un-pleasantries from him. He’s always been extremely nice to me and my family whenever we’ve been out in the past. … I was surprised to definitely hear him say that about me, but maybe he just had a bad moment.”
So, when asked if the Pistons’ walk-off still (or ever) bothered either of them, Cartwright and Perdue both let it roll off. “Does it bother me that we swept them and they walked off the floor? Absolutely not,” Cartwright said. “I know some guys were bothered by it. I could really care less. Now, I felt like, you know, they had to walk off the floor. They were dead anyway, so why not? So for me it was fine.”
Once each new episode premieres, it’s available to authenticated subscribers on the ESPN app,, and ESPN On Demand. ESPN re-airs the previous episodes every Sunday night. But if you’re a cord-cutter that doesn’t get ESPN, you’re out of luck. Even subscribers to the new ESPN+ streaming service, who pay $4.99 a month or $49.99 annually, won’t get the documentary for another 15 months. That is because of distribution arrangements for ‘The Last Dance’ that were completed ahead of ESPN+’s launch in April 2018.
Not sure if this good or bad for New York’s fans given their team’s results, but the widely popular Bulls documentary “The Last Dance” will focus on the Knicks rivalry in the upcoming Episode 6, an industry source told the Daily News. The episode is scheduled to air Sunday on ESPN.
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.”
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.”
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."
Storyline: Michael Jordan Documentary
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September 20, 2021 | 4:09 am EDT Update
Brother Pau Gasol recently spoke with Spanish newspaper Marca, and the topic of Marc’s future came up. “Marc has earned the freedom and flexibility to make his own decision and he will do so when he decides. I know he has a lot of enthusiasm for Basquet Girona, a club in which I am also involved as vice president. He is in a different situation, because he is five years younger than me. We will see what he decides to do this season and later, I am also waiting.“
Throughout his stellar NBA career, Bryant made a name for himself through his countless ways of scoring the basketball. For Grant, barring injuries, Hardaway would’ve also become as dominant as Bryant as he also had that in him during his playing years. “Without a doubt,” the four-time NBA champ said when asked if Hardaway could’ve also enjoyed his career like Bryant did. “I’m talking about 6’7”, 6’8” can see the floor, three-pointers, drive to the basket, assists, you name it. All-around game.”
The Lakers star’s latest appearance on the Million Dollaz Worth of Game podcast was eye-opening in that Melo revealed an ominous threat made against him by former NBA commissioner David Stern. This was following Anthony’s 15-game suspension back in 2006 for an in-arena brawl that broke out between his Denver Nuggets and his future team the New York Knicks. “‘I know who you with. I know where you live at,” the Lakers star claimed Stern said to him about his group of friends. ‘I know where they live at. I know when you close your eyes. I know when you wake up. And I know what they doin,’ he’s telling me.” “And I’m like damn, how the f—? That’s when I knew NBA was part of the feds. He told me, ‘I gotta make an example out of you.’ That’s a fact. He said, ‘I know everything. I know your whole crew. I know who’s doing what.’
NBA superstar Anthony Davis tied the knot with his longtime partner, Marlen P, and celebrities from across the entertainment spectrum came out to celebrate the event. Among the invited guests were Davis’ Lakers teammates LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari and multiple Grammy award winning singer Adele.