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“He Was an A**hole”: How Michael Jordan Kept His Bulls’ Teammate on Top of Their Game

Published 05/08/2020, 12:30 PM EDT

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One may feel that the methods Michael Jordan used to discipline his teammates were, at times, questionable. However, it is common knowledge in the NBA community that the legend stands by his ways.

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MJ’s teammates believe he did what he did for everyone’s benefit. It comes as a surprise because they were usually the victims of Jordan’s wrath.

Did being a jerk actually help Michael Jordan be a better leader?


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Many reports over the years reveal how mean Michael Jordan was to all his teammates. Not letting them eat when they didn’t play well, scolding, yelling, passing comments, you name it.

ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ covers his questionable leadership skills extensively. However, it also covers positive reactions from his teammates.


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In the documentary, Jud Buechler, former Chicago Bulls forward said, “People were afraid of him. We were his teammates, and we were afraid of him.”

Will Perdue, Bulls’ center at the time said, “Let’s not get it wrong. He was an as*h**e. (And) He was a jerk.  He crossed the line numerous times. But as time goes on, you think back about what he was actually trying to accomplish. You think, ‘Hey, he was a hell of a teammate.”

Bill Wennington reiterated the notion that Jordan’s tactics helped the team win championships ultimately. “He was pushing us all to be better, because he wanted to win. And guess what? It worked,” he said.

Scottie Pippen, Jordan’s No.2, also felt the same. He said, ” We kinda needed that. I needed him to be the bad guy, the tough guy.”



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However, Michael Jordan didn’t need these validations. He knew what he was doing, rather; he felt he had the right to. So much so that he was also aware of the fact that everyone thought he was way too rude.


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In the docuseries, he says, “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.”

It seems the community can only hope for another player in the future generations who is as confident about his decisions as MJ was. He is considered a legend for good reason.

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Written by:

Maitreyee Joshi


One take at a time