‘Tremendous Bully’: Author of Michael Jordan Book Details Why His Teammates Were Scared to Death of Him

Published 05/31/2021, 5:30 PM EDT
Chicago Bulls # 23 Michael Jordan sitting next to Bill Cartwright on the bench during the Chicago Bulls vs New York Knicks game on May 14 , 1993 at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage)


Michael Jordan is a figure surrounded by lore in the NBA. Despite him being the most popular player of his generation, fans always wanted a behind the curtain glimpse of his workings.

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Though fans revered Jordan as one of the fiercest on-court competitors in the NBA, they rarely got to see how he would function off the court. But when he returned after his first retirement, he wasn’t happy with the way his new teammates were acting.

Michael Jordan had an elite mentality

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Roland Lazenby, author of ‘Michael Jordan: The Life’ spoke recently in an interview about how Michael Jordan worked. He noted that Jordan was notoriously aggressive. There was nothing he wouldn’t do to get himself into the zone.

In fact, MJ was perhaps better than any athlete in history at getting himself to the place where he needed to get in order to succeed. That motivation would help him do anything and everything he put his mind to.

NBA Basketball -Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan and Scotty Pippen during a March 22, 1997 game at United Center in Chicago. (.) (Photo by Darren Whitley/Sporting News via Getty Images)

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“Michael could blow up anything in his mind to really stoke his fire. He knew how to do that. He was the master at putting himself in what here in America we call ‘the zone’. That area that you flow into magically at times as an athlete where everything is almost dreamlike and you can just do it all.”

Jordan’s abilities stunned a sports psychologist

In fact, Jordan’s ability to get into ‘The Zone’ frequently amazed a sports psychologist who worked with the Bulls.

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“As George Mumford, the great sports psychologist said after working with the Bulls, he was stunned at Michael’s ability to project himself to that level routinely. Most people, I’ve hit it a couple of times in my life…It’s rare, but Michael could do that. Those guys were scared to death of Mike. Michael was a tremendous bully.”

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Michael Jordan was one of the most aggressive athletes in history, but that mindset brought him brilliant success. He won six NBA titles during his career, never losing in an NBA Finals.

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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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