Michael Jordan is a legend, and now he’s telling the story of how he won his first NBA Championship.
Michael Jordan and Luc Longley’s rivalry is one of the most famous in basketball history. One of the most memorable moments from their match was when Jordan said That is the last time I’ll give you a compliment in the middle of the game.
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During his NBA career, Michael Jordan was known for being a ruthless teammate. Jordan was one of the league’s most ferocious competitors. And, whether it’s on or off the court, he expects the best from his teammates. Jordan is the personification of the killer mindset, which wants victory at any costs. And he believes that in order to accomplish their objectives, everyone of his colleagues must have a same passion for success. Jordan’s attitude didn’t always make him the greatest teammate, as he would chastise his teammates for not reaching their full potential during games.
Jordan discussed his comeback to the Chicago Bulls during the 94-95 season in a new documentary focused on Australian NBA player and former Chicago Bulls member Luc Longley (around the 24:42 mark). He was simply trying to figure out who his teammates were and how they approached the game mentally. Jordan was constantly striving for excellence and wanted his colleagues to do the same. Jordan was fully aware that he would not be warmly received, but he was just doing what he thought was needed to bring them to the mental and physical levels required for championship success in the league.
“I was eager to learn more about my colleagues. My thought process was to go back and attempt to win. You must be well-prepared. You must be prepared to play… You’d think that everyone was thinking the same way I was. Every time you walk onto the basketball court, strive for excellence. But, sadly, not everyone shares this mindset. But I was on a mission, and I wanted them to know what it needed to win. Winning comes at a cost. I’m sure there were instances when they weren’t pleased with me. But, as a leader, you can’t always be loved; you can’t always be liked, but you have to drag people along.”
Jordan shared a tale with Longley from their last season together in the documentary and accompanying article (25:25 mark). The Chicago Bulls faced the Utah Jazz in the 1998 NBA Finals, a rematch from the previous year’s Finals, which the Bulls had won. Longley made a great start to the game, completing the first quarter with 12 points, four rebounds, and four blocks. Jordan praised Longley’s performance, telling him that if he continues to play at that level, the Bulls would be able to crush their opponents. The Bulls were ahead 15 points after the first quarter and on their way to winning the game.
However, the game came to a completely different conclusion. Longley didn’t add anything to his statistics from the first quarter, as the Bulls fell by 16 points. After the game, Jordan approached Longley and informed him that it was the last time he would praise him during the game.
“This tale may not appeal to him. We’re playing the Utah Jazz in 1998. Luc had 12 points, 4 blocks, and 4 rebounds at the conclusion of the first quarter. ‘That’s how you f**king play, man,’ I say to Luc. We’ll take over if you do that! We’ve gained 16 points.’ Luc finished the game with 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 blocks. We had a 16-point lead, but now we’re down 15 points. ‘You know what, Luc?’ I said. That’s the last praise I’m going to offer you in the midst of a game.’
Jordan and Longley were both able to laugh at the tale. All was well in the end, as Longley, Jordan, and the Chicago Bulls went on to win their third NBA title in a row. The Chicago Bulls disbanded after winning the title. Jordan retired for the second time, and Longley joined the Phoenix Suns. Longley was omitted from Michael Jordan’s new documentary ‘The Last Dance,’ which he regrets and hopes he could alter. However, it seems that the two have maintained a positive connection to this day.
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