Good Luck, B

Traded by MJ while dining at Olive Garden.

Jim Rome
May 21, 2020 - 9:22 am
Brad Sellers

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The Last Dance has been the gift that keeps on giving. It’s like taking a cinder block and dropping it into a pond, because there are ripples that keep going on and on and on. You have the initial series, then you have the reactions to the series, like Horace Grant saying that Michael Jordan is a “damn snitch.”

And Grant isn’t the only teammate who is pissed about the series. As I mentioned yesterday, Jackie MacMullan had reported earlier this month that people close to Pippen say he’s been wounded and disappointed by how he was portrayed in the documentary.

David Kaplan reported that Pippen is “so angry” and “beyond livid” about the depiction. He reportedly did not like Jordan calling him “selfish” for how he handled his injury and he “felt like up until the last few minutes of Game 6 against the Jazz [in the 1998 NBA Finals], it was just 'bash Scottie, bash Scottie, bash Scottie.”

And I get that. I completely get it. While Jordan did praise Pippen early in the series, most of the Pippen content after that was all about Pippen’s lowest moments, and questioning Pippen’s toughness. That would piss me off as well.

With a friend like Jordan, who needs enemies? Not that Jordan probably cares, but that really is kind of a rough look when your running mate on the team for more than a decade and one of the greatest players of all time is “beyond livid” with how you kept running the bus over him. And when another teammate who won three rings with you is calling you a damn snitch.

Again, that’s probably not going to bother Jordan too much because he seemed to be fine with both of those storylines being in there in the first place. And it doesn’t seem like he’s too close with Pippen or Grant and it doesn’t seem like he wants to be close with them either.

But the aftermath hasn’t been all bad when it comes to how Jordan treated teammates.

The Undefeated has a story involving Jordan, Brad Sellers, and an Olive Garden. In other words, what if  I told you one of the nicest things Jordan ever did for a teammate took place at an Olive Garden? And it didn’t involve unlimited breadsticks and salad?

When Sellers was drafted by the Bulls in 1986, Jerry Krause told him the plan would be for him to become the first 7-foot small forward in the league. He’d be the ultimate stretch four, or maybe even a stretch three.

But when Grant and Pippen started to emerge as players, Sellers realized he was probably not going to get as much playing time as he expected. And he wanted out. So he came up with a plan.

“I told MJ, ‘You got to go in there and tell them that this is not going to work for me here.”

Sellers said Jordan asked him: you really want me to do that?” And Sellers was insistent. “Absolutely.”

So Jordan said he would do it.

The next day, Sellers is, where else, at the Olive Garden. And he’s sitting there enjoying a plate of chicken parm when the restaurant manager approaches and says:

“Michael Jordan is on the phone.”

First off, this is 1989. It is not as easy to track down people as it is now. And yet somehow, Jordan knew that Sellers was going to be at this Olive Garden at this time. Maybe Sellers always had a chicken parm at the same OG at the same time every day. Maybe he really was family there. Maybe he liked doing the math.

Anyway, Jordan tracks him down at the OG and Sellers takes the call.

According to Sellers, this is what Jordan said: “They’re trading you to Seattle tomorrow. Good luck, B.”

That is the stuff of legend. Forget making up the LaBradford Smith story. Forget all the runs he took at Isiah. Forget him laughing about Gary Payton.

Michael Jordan calling a teammate at Olive Garden to tell them you’ve been traded is maybe the greatest moment of his career.

You do the Alfredo, I’ll do the trading.

You would think having your delicious chicken parm being interrupted by the manager telling you Michael Jordan is on the phone would be a good thing. But having your Olive Garden meal interrupted to be told you’ve been traded to Seattle is pretty awful. And the only thing worse than that is that Sellers brought it on himself.

This wasn’t Jordan being a bully, this was Jordan doing Sellers a favor. As Sellers said: “When I got to Seattle, I said, ‘What in the hell did I just do?’ I was young and dumb.”

I’ll tell you what you just did, you wanted more playing time and you wanted more chicken parm. And you go both. You do the math on that.

What does it say about Jordan’s reputation right now that calling the Olive Garden to tell a guy he got traded might be the nicest thing someone has said about him this week?