Michael Jordan Warned Doc Rivers of the Real “Problem” Around Kevin Garnett & Co’s Championship Run

Published 12/31/2023, 7:00 AM EST

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Michael Jordan knows a thing or two about winning NBA championships. More importantly, he knew how to keep winning despite a huge target on your back. The 6x NBA champion realized after the first title that it is not just about reaching the top, but about staying at the top. And he did everything possible to achieve that with the Chicago Bulls. So, when Doc Rivers reached out to him after winning the ring in 2008, Jordan alerted him about the most important thing that could lead to the team’s downfall.

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In the latest episode of the KG Certified podcast, the Boston Celtics legends Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Doc Rivers sat down for a chat. In one instance of the show, Rivers recounted his philosophy, “Everybody outside the locker room is the opponent”.

Michael Jordan revealed the pitfall of winning to Doc Rivers

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Doc Rivers felt friends and family could influence players to want a bigger role on the team and it could hurt the team. Paul Pierce was thankful to the coach for instilling that in the Celtics early on and talked about the team’s togetherness. However, The Truth noted that things worsened inside the locker room after clinching the championship. This was when Rivers revealed Michael Jordan warned him about it.

The former coach noted that he sought out people who had won for advice about things to look out for after tasting success. So, he reached out to Jordan as well, who was one of the biggest winners ever. And MJ laid it out to him straight.

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Rivers recounted, “And Michael Jordan said something. He said, ‘This is going to be a problem. It ain’t gonna be the Big 3. It’s going to be everybody else because every single player on your team has gone away and had the trophy for a week or two. And they were the man! When they come back, you’re gonna have 15 guys that think they’re the man now.”

He added that MJ noted that it could take the players a whole year to get back to who they are. Ultimately, we could say that the 5x NBA MVP’s words came true from what he heard from Pierce about the team’s chemistry after the title. The Big 3 and the Celtics did not win another championship.

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Michael Jordan kept his teammates in check

Michael Jordan is one of the best leaders the league has ever seen. However, he was not the nicest. He knew how to push his teammates to stay winning. Even though Jordan was aware his methods could come back to haunt him, he did not care. His eyes were set on the bigger prize and he realized he had to pay a price for it.

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In The Last Dance docuseries, when MJ was asked whether he was a “nice guy,” he replied, “Look, winning has a price. And leadership has a price. So I pulled people along when they didn’t want to be pulled. I challenged people when they didn’t want to be challenged. And I earned that right because my teammates who came after me didn’t endure all the things I endured.”

In the docuseries, even though some of his teammates disclosed Jodan crossed the line at times, they also admitted they needed it to keep winning.

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Written by:

Bagavathi Eswaran

1,520Articles

One take at a time

My strong passion for basketball started when I was ten after watching an NBA commercial on TV. I began tuning into games for inspiration and to learn from the best. So I have been closely following the league for more than a decade now.
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Edited by:

Debmallya Chakraborty

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