‘Couldn’t Do Regular Stuff’: Former NBA Player Reveals Challenges Michael Jordan Faced

Published 12/21/2020, 9:30 AM EST
Michael Jordan during 2006 Jordan All-American Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, United States. ***Exclusive*** (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)


Michael Jordan had one of the most fascinating careers of all time. Often considered as the greatest player of all time, Jordan was the catalyst behind the massive growth in the popularity of basketball in the 90s, and the inspiration behind many players today.

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But it wasn’t easy living Michael Jordan’s life. He said this himself on numerous occasions. His former teammate, Etan Thomas, spoke about how Jordan’s life was so different from everyone else’s. Tomas said that ‘The Last Dance’ documentary showed a vulnerable side of Jordan, that he had never shown before.

“He showed a lot of emotion in there that he hasn’t let a lot of people see. So him saying it was hard for him, people saying want to be like Mike, but if they were in my shoes, they would see that it is not what they think it is. I’ve heard him say that in the locker room, but I haven’t heard him say stuff like that publicly.” 

Michael Jordan had a different life from everyone else

In fact, Thomas added that during their time together in the Wizards, Jordan couldn’t do many of the things most people took for granted in their lives, like going to the movies or eating a meal at a restaurant. And even his family had to live under these circumstances, just by proxy of association with him.

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“There was stuff he couldn’t do. He couldn’t do regular stuff. I remember we would go to the movies together or a restaurant together. He couldn’t just walk in and go. They had to shut the place down, cover this all up, sneak him into the back. His kids couldn’t do regular stuff. They had security. Just regular stuff. Just the level of expectations.”

18 Jan 1999: Michael Jordan at his retirement press conference at the United Center in Chicago, Illinios. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport

Michael Jordan showed a different perspective of his career during the critically acclaimed ‘Last Dance’ docuseries; his own. Everyone witnessed his career from so many contexts, but no one ever knew what Jordan was thinking or feeling during his playing days.

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While it cannot have been easy to live the way Jordan did, he can feel gratified in knowing that his sacrifices allow him to be recognized as the greatest player to ever play the game.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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