Michael Jordan is regarded by most as the greatest basketball player of all time, winning six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, and picking up countless personal accolades along the way.
Everyone wanted to ‘Be Like Mike’ in the ’80s and ’90s, however the former NBA star is self-admittedly not perfect.
His achievements on the basketball court and in the commercial world, where he has racked up a wealth of around $2.1billion, are almost unmatched, but throughout his career, Jordan showed hints of a darker side.
He is regarded as the greatest basketball player ever, but Michael Jordan also had a dark side
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Punching Steve Kerr
In the 1990s, NBA team practice was a lot more intense than it is in the modern era. Nowadays, players are given more time to rest and recover amid the packed game schedule.
But in a Bulls training camp before the 1995-96 season after Jordan’s return from mini-retirement, Jordan and Steve Kerr started getting rough with each other, to the point where a heated scuffle broke out between the two of them ending with Kerr receiving a black eye.
There are apparently no hard feelings these days, and Kerr, who is now head coach of the Golden State Warriors, actually believed it helped out in the long run.
‘I would definitely say it helped our relationship,’ said Kerr in recent interview on TNT. ‘Practices were really intense. They were a huge part of the Bulls and Michael setting a standard for our play.
Jordan once punched Steve Kerr during Bulls practice, leaving him with a black eye
‘For me in that case, Michael was definitely testing me, and I responded, and I feel like I passed the test and he trusted me more afterwards.’
He also says practice fights were more common than people might think in the teams he played for, 생중계바카라사이트 revealing there were ‘probably three’ just in that season alone, although didn’t mention whether Jordan was involved in the others.
After the incident, Jordan and Kerr won three NBA championships together, including a famous moment where Kerr hit the winning shot against the Utah Jazz in 1997 after a crucial pass from Jordan.
Keeping quiet on political issues
Although he wasn’t obligated to share his political opinions with anyone, there is no doubting that a lot of people were disappointed when Jordan didn’t endorse politician Harvey Gantt in his 1990 senatorial race against Jesse Helms in North Carolina, where Jordan lived from a young age.
It was almost expected that as a highly respected black athlete, Jordan would speak out against Helms, who was against having a holiday dedicated to Martin Luther King, was accused of being pro-segregation, and was also against homosexuality.
However, Jordan chose to remain silent, and things became worse for his brand when he was quoted as saying ‘Republicans buy sneakers too’ when asked why he wasn’t speaking out.
Some criticised Jordan for not endorsing Harvey Gantt’s North Carolina senatorial campaign
Jordan has since claimed that it was a throwaway joke made on the Bulls’ team bus, but people still took it to mean he was more interested in making money by selling his Nike branded shoes than fighting for social justice.
Even former US President Barack Obama weighed in, appearing on Netflix’s The Last Dance documentary.
‘For somebody who was at that time preparing for a career in civil rights law and public life, and knowing what Jesse Helms stood for, you would have wanted to see Michael push harder on that,’ said Obama.
Jordan says he did donate to Gantt’s campaign, but Helms went on to win the 1990 election, and held the position of North Carolina senator from 1973-2003.
Rivalry with Isiah Thomas
Before winning six NBA championships, Jordan and the Bulls spent a lot of time chasing after the Detroit Pistons. The ‘Bad Boys’, so-called for their aggressive, defense-oriented play, and led by Isiah Thomas, won back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990.
The Pistons knew how good Jordan was, so came up with the ‘Jordan Rules’. Simply put, the Pistons would bully Jordan physically, and commit players to him in order to starve him of the ball. It eventually led to Jordan beefing up to compete with strength of his own.
Then in 1991, the Bulls swept the Pistons in the championship finals and the Bad Boys walked off the court before the final game was even over, controversially refusing to shake hands.
There were a number of other incidents throughout Jordan’s early career that are attributed to their rivalry, and it eventually led to Thomas allegedly being kept off the 1992 US Olympic Dream Team due to Jordan, despite being one of the top picks.
Jordan and the Detroit Pistons’ Isiah Thomas had a vicious rivalry spanning many years
‘I don’t know what went into that [selection] process,’ said Thomas on The Last Dance. ‘I met the criteria to be selected, but I wasn’t.’
Although Jordan denies it, people have suggested that Jordan made US head coach (and Detroit coach at the time) Chuck Daly keep Thomas off the team for the Barcelona Games.
It was the first time the US had sent a team of NBA players to the Olympics. ‘Dream Team’ assembled was dominant in 1992, and the US men’s team has won every gold medal since then apart from in 2004.
You wouldn’t begrudge Thomas from feeling left out, especially as Jordan says himself that: ‘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.’
Jordan has made no secret of the fact he enjoys gambling over the years, and although it has appeared to be an issue at some stages during his career, he is adamant that he has never had a problem.
The most famous incident when Jordan’s gambling came to the spotlight was during the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Knicks.
In order to take some time away from basketball and the bustle of New York, Jordan took a trip to gambling hub Atlantic City, but reports say he went a little overboard.
‘We got a limo, we went and gambled for a couple hours, and we came back,’ he said on The Last Dance. ‘Everybody went totally ballistic. It wasn’t late. We got home by 12.30, 1.’
However, the New York Times say someone spotted him out at 2.30am, and the attention only grew when the Bulls lost game two the following night after an underwhelming performance by Jordan.
Jordan went on a trip to a casino in Atlantic City before playing the New York Knicks in 1993
It has also emerged that he skipped the Bulls’ trip to the White House after winning the 1991 NBA Finals so that he could go gamble with golf shop owner and convicted cocaine dealer James ‘Slim’ Bouler.
Then Richard Esquinas published a book called ‘Michael and Me’. Esquinas was a self-described recovering gambling addict and addressed his and Jordan’s alleged problems in the text.
He also claimed Jordan owed him a staggering $1.2million in gambling debts from golf bets. Jordan denied that and Esquinas later said they settled with a payment of $300,000.
The Bulls team would also play cards for huge sums of money on flights to and from games, and he supposedly once lost $5m in a Las Vegas casino in a single night.
Jordan insists that he does not have a gambling problem, saying ‘no, because I could stop gambling. I have a competition problem, a competitive problem.’
Trash talk / ‘bullying’
There’s always going to be some ribbing in sport, however some have suggested that Jordan took his trash talk too far on a number of occasions.
He has been accused of bullying Bill Cartwright when he joined the Bulls in 1998, replacing Jordan’s friend Charles Oakley.
Jordan didn’t take kindly to the new recruit initially. He accused him of having bad hands, and would throw bad passes at him at practice to try and highlight this. He would also call him ‘Medical Bill’, although Cartwright did end up helping the Bulls to their ‘three-peat’ championship victories in the early 90s.
Jordan was accused of ‘bullying’ Bill Cartwright when he replaced Charles Oakley on the Bulls
He also reportedly called Rodney McCray a ‘loser’ in practice when he arrived in Chicago as a reserve forward.
Plus, Jordan’s words have been attributed to the decline of Muggsy Bogues. Playing against the Charlotte Hornets in 1995, Jordan backed off Bogues, and former Bulls assistant coach Johnny Bach claims Jordan said: ‘Shoot it you f****** midget.’
Bogues, the shortest player to ever play in the NBA at 5’3″, missed the shot, and never had a better season in the NBA after that.
Getting ‘drunk as s***’ at vodka-fuelled karaoke, seeing the… Michael Jordan’s incredible gambling habits were revealed in… How Michael Jordan became the world’s RICHEST athlete: Star… Michael Jordan wanted to sign with adidas but they couldn’t…
Share this article
NBA on TNT on Twitter: “”I feel like I passed the test and he trusted me more afterwards.” @SteveKerr discusses how a practice altercation with MJ helped grow their relationship on #NBATogether… website …
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