Luc Longley Rumors
Basketball greats Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen will head an all-star cast in a two-part ABC series centring on the life of their former Chicago Bulls teammate Luc Longley. In the Australian Story series scheduled to run on August 2 and 9, Longley breaks his silence on his relationship with Jordan and his bizarre omission last year from his three-time NBA championship teammate’s Netflix documentary, The Last Dance.
The star-studded series also features rare interviews with Jordan and Pippen about Longley as well as the towering Australian’s former Bulls teammate Steve Kerr and coach Phil Jackson. Longley has, until now, declined to comment publicly on The Last Dance, which detailed Jordan’s influence on the all-conquering Bulls team and the brash operation run by then-general manager Jerry Krause.
Sam Smith: “Would they have won again? No. Because that’s like saying, ‘If he hadn’t fallen off that building, he would be alive!’ Pippen was estranged for a year; heck, he had a half season sit-down strike. Rodman was melting down and did so in Los Angeles. Phil was one step into a sabbatical for a year. Michael clearly was burned out, as he was seen telling Ahmad Rashad in the documentary. Pippen had back surgery after the 1997-98 season and was never again close to the player he’d been. Also, Jordan sustained a severe cut on his shooting hand that offseason from a cigar cutter and could no longer grip the ball and would have trouble shooting. How would his legacy have looked trying to come back without any preseason or camp under those circumstances? Plus, all those Bulls reserve guys like Luc Longley, Steve Kerr and Jud Buechler got long-term contracts from new teams that I am certain all their teams regretted and made no sense for the Bulls to match. This another-year thing is so pathetic. It’s like a teenager dreaming for years about the girlfriend who dumped him. If only… Move on!”
“The fact is, it’s pretty obvious in 1998 that Michael carried this team,” he said. “These guys were gassed. He could not have come back because of the cut finger. But even if he could’ve come back, the other players [Steve Kerr, Luc Longley, Jud Buechler, Dennis Rodman] were going to get offers that were way in excess of what they were worth. “I know in Episode 10, [Jordan] says, ‘They all would’ve come back for one year.’ But there’s not a chance in the world that Scottie Pippen would’ve come back on a one-year contract when he knew he could get a much bigger contract someplace else.”
Jerry Krause: During the last championship run in 1998, cracks in the foundation of the teams we’d built began to alarmingly show up at inopportune times. To the adoring public, the age that was showing on Dennis Rodman, the lack of movement by Luc Longley, the slowdown in efficiency after playing over 100 games per year in two of the previous three seasons, was not apparent. The lack of recovery time in the summer, where beaten-up legs could have enough time on (strength and conditioning coach) Al Vermeil’s summer program to gain back the strength they’d lost in playing far longer than any other team in the league, never struck the fans or the media. The fact that winning titles meant drafting last each year in what at the time were poor draft crops meant nothing. We’d gotten lucky in 1990 in that most NBA people did not think that Toni Kukoc would even come to the NBA, and he’d fallen to early in the second round where we had a pick.
But in his first interview in years on Friday, Longley, now 51, said Jordan and the Bulls ultimately pushed him to become a better player after transferring over from the Minnesota Timberwolves. ‘I worked really hard on defending. On strength. On speed. My application to it all. I had to become a student of the game,’ he told The Australian. ‘You had MJ (Michael Jordan), of course, but it wasn’t the norm. What I had to figure out was how to be a full-time professional athlete.’
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.’