Luc Longley Reveals How Michael Jordan Pushed Him to Reshape Himself, Unsuccessfully

Published 08/03/2021, 1:30 PM EDT
MONTEREY, CA – JULY 8: NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan looks on during the practice session for the 2005 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, part of the MotoGP World Championships, on July 8, 2005 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. Jordan owns his own AMA Superbike Team. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)


Were the Chicago Bulls the greatest team of all time? Any team with the name Michael Jordan on their roster would certainly hope so! While the Bulls dominated the 90s, winning 6 championships in 8 years, they seldom had it easy. Michael Jordan, arguably is the most competitive athlete ever. But, in his drive for success, did he push his teammates over the limit?

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While the Last Dance brought some of the off-the-court incidents of ‘MJ the hard taskmaster’ to light, one incident along with the player himself cut from the documentary. Luc Longley, who was an integral part of the Bulls in their second 3-peat from ’96 to ’98 was one of Jordan’s rare failed pet projects.

AUCHTERARDER, SCOTLAND – SEPTEMBER 26: Ex-NBA star Michael Jordan watches the action during the Morning Fourballs of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 26, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Longley was one of the multiple additions to the Bulls, during his Airness’ hiatus from 1994 to 1995. But, unfortunately for the 7’2″ center, Jordan din’t trust the newbies, as he believed they din’t possess his killer championship mentality.

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A rare hit and miss for Michael Jordan

To truly join MJ and gain his respect, the requirements were elementary. You just had to match his commitment for the game of basketball. Sounds simple, right? Think again!

Fondly remembered as the ‘Luc Longley Express’, the Aussie center having been snubbed from the Last Dance documentary had a few words of his own via an article in an Australian media house.

Longley finally addressed the matter as he said – “He just had all these sharp edges, like some sort of a ninja star. He felt for whatever reason like he needed to charge me with his electricity, which I didn’t actually … I’m not a conduit for that kind of electricity naturally.”

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Jordan once said – “I don’t think Luc had the mentality of what it took to win. I felt the need to push him. You had to show him a little tough love, you know. That’s what I call it, tough love.”

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Whether Jordan’s constant pushing and relentless pursuit altered Longley’s game is debatable at best. But, it saw the Longley Express transition from a rather soft player to a seasoned war-like veteran by the time the Bulls were crowned the NBA champions yet again in 1998.

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Nikhil Naik

170 articles

Nikhil Naik is an NBA writer at EssentialySports. Having completed his bachelor's degree in Hospitality, he has worked with the Indian Hotels Company Limited, at the Taj in Mumbai. Nikhil has been playing basketball since 2014.

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