“I Can’t Go Out and Win Games..”: Michael Jordan’s “Rebellion” Displayed Distrust in Patient Phil Jackson in 1990

Published 01/06/2023, 10:50 AM EST

Follow Us

Legendary coach Phil Jackson is widely credited for taking the Chicago Bulls to the next level. While he had a good relationship with his players most of the time, sometimes it got sour. For instance, the rift between Michael Jordan and Jackson was more than evident to the world in 1990. Jackson had come up with a new game plan which was not favorable to Jordan and he voiced his disapproval openly.

In the book, ‘ The Jordan Rules‘, the author talks about the hostile situation within the Bulls’ team. Jordan was strictly against Jackson’s new game plan and more often than not, he confided with the assistant coach to talk about his troubles with the tactics. However, the coach remained unfazed by Jordan’s antics.

Michael Jordan was unhappy with the coach’s new tactics


Article continues below this ad

Phil Jackson has coached some of the biggest names in basketball. Not only has he managed players like Jordan and Scottie Pippen, but he was also in charge of the Los Angeles Lakers where he trained Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.

He was a rather calm man who was clear with his tactics. Back in 1990, he devised a new game plan that featured not going all out at the beginning of games. Instead, conserve your energy and seal the game in the latter periods. This clearly didn’t sit well with MJ.


Get instantly notified of the hottest NBA stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

via Getty

His teammates criticized him and his ‘rebellion’ while accusing him of only caring about the scoring title. On the other hand, Jordan felt he was responsible for the team’s success. The six-time NBA champion once confessed to the assistant coach about his feelings. 

Jordan told the assistant coach, “I can’t go out and win games at the end if I’m not in the flow. I can’t just take twelve shots a game and then hit the winning shot. “

Amidst all the tension, Phil Jackson was rather calm. “I find as I get older I become more patient”, said Jackson to the reporters when asked to comment on the situation.

What were Jordan’s numbers that season?


Article continues below this ad

New gameplan or not, Michael Jordan always delivered. He somehow managed to find a way around the rules which were unfavorable to him.

During that season, he averaged a whopping 31.5 points, 5.5 assists, and 6.0 rebounds while playing and starting all 82 games in the regular season. 


Article continues below this ad

WATCH THIS STORY: Will Smith’s Net Worth Compared To Michael Jordan and Shaquille ONeal

What is your favorite memory of Michael Jordan? Let us know in the comments down below.


Written by:

Abhinava Ghosh


One take at a time

Abhinava is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communication. Abhinava has been following NBA for the past 6 years and is a huge fan of the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry.
Show More>

Edited by:

Jayant Chhabra