Not Everyone Is Happy With MJ’s Doc

Maybe Mike still has an axe to grind with everyone.

Jim Rome
May 20, 2020 - 9:52 am
Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen

USA Today

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As I mentioned, Horace Grant was not done. He had a ton he wanted to get off his chest. And you have to wonder, as good as that documentary was for Jordan’s image and as much as it was an advertorial for him and his career, if some of it might boomerang on him.

For example, Jordan portrayed himself as a tough leader, but Grant didn’t really buy that. He essentially made the point that Jordan was a bully. As Grant said, he would take runs at guys like Will Perdue and Scott Burrell, guys he COULD take runs at.  Because that’s what a bully does.  That’s the definition of a bully; go at people who you know won’t come back at you.   But if you challenged him back, he would back down. So he’d go after the guys he could beat up and he’d back down from the guys he couldn’t.

And that’s not just Grant talking. Check this detail from Jackie MacMullan back in 2012 about Robert Parish and his season with the Bulls.

In one of his first practices with the Bulls, Parish botched one of the plays and was amused to find Jordan jawing at him just inches from his face.

"I told him, 'I'm not as enamored with you as these other guys. I've got some rings too,' “Parish recalled. "At that point he told me, 'I'm going to kick your ass.' I took one step closer and said, 'No, you really aren't.' After that he didn't bother me."

That is bad ass from The Chief. I’m not sure what’s a better line – “'I'm not as enamored with you as these other guys. I've got some rings too” or when Jordan threatened to kick his ass, taking a step closer to him and saying, “no, you really aren’t.”

But back to Grant and the punches he’s throwing now, reminding everyone that Mike will just break you off, an X you out, no matter who you are or how close you’ve been if you don’t bow down to the king: and mentions Charles Barkley as a prime example:

"Charles Barkley, they've been friends for over 20, 30 years. And he said something about Michael's management with the Charlotte Bobcats or the Charlotte Hornets, and then they haven't spoken since then.”

And if that’s really how that went down, it would seem like Jordan can dish it but can’t take it. Not if Charles Barkley, a friend of decades, is just doing his job and is correcting in pointing out that Jordan hasn’t had much success as a team executive or owner, and then Jordan just cuts him out. 

Whatever happened to the guy who was getting all choked up when he talked about leadership and winning at all costs? What happened to the guy who said: "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.” 

What happened to the guy who said, I wasn’t doing it for me, I was doing it for THEM. 

This is the same guy who was saying: "My mentality was to go out and win at any cost. If you don't want to live that regimented mentality, then you don't need to be alongside of me because I'm going to ridicule you until you get on the same level with me. And if you don't get on the same level, then it's going to be hell for you."

But when Barkley ridicules him to level up as an executive and owner, Jordan isn’t hearing it. APPARANTLY...  Apparently, sometimes when you challenge mike, he doesn’t’ want to be challenged. 

And Grant wasn’t just pissed on his own behalf. He was pissed for Scottie Pippen as well. Because aside from Jordan giving some praise to Pippen early in the series, most of the talk about Pippen was about all of his low moments.

"I have never seen a quote-unquote No. 2 guy, as decorated as Scottie Pippen, portrayed so badly. In terms of the migraine, in terms of the 1.[8] seconds, [Jordan calling him] selfish. I have never seen this in all of my life. ... Pip was out there in Game 6 [of the '98 Finals], could barely walk, getting knocked down on his back. Tried to do whatever he could to help that team. My point is, why was that 1.[8] seconds in the documentary, so-called documentary, about Pip?

"MJ wasn't even on the team. Why was that in there? We handled that that year really well as a team. Pip knows that he was wrong for doing it. ... Bill Cartwright stood up and said what he had to say, and then we handled it. It was over. It was over. We go on to take the Knicks to seven games. It was over. Why bring that up? That's my question to everybody out there who's listening."

That is a great question. If this is a series about the final season, the so-called Last Dance, why was something from four years earlier included? Something that Jordan wasn’t even there for: he was off playing baseball: that didn’t concern him at all. He wasn’t on the team then; as Horace said, the team handled it. And. If this is about Michael Jordan’s version of the final season, why was something that didn’t involve Michael Jordan given so much time in the doc? Why was it so important to Jordan to bring up the lowest point of Pippen’s career

As Jackie MacMullan wrote earlier this month, people close to Pippen say he’s been wounded and disappointed by how he was portrayed in the documentary. And I get it. One of the single greatest players to ever play the game and in a series that’s supposed to sum up everything, and much of the focus on him is about all of his faults.

Yes, Jordan called him the best teammate he ever had and said that he couldn’t have reached that level without Pippen, but that’s like saying the sky is blue. That is just a fact. Nobody would debate the idea that Pippen was the best teammate Jordan ever had. Pippen is one of the best player ever. Period. And nobody would debate the fact that Pippen played a massive role in winning those six rings.

But Jordan also called Pippen “selfish” for how he handled his foot injury, something that Steve Kerr and Phil Jackson both disagreed with. And Jordan still seems to be questioning Pippen’s migraine against Detroit and challenging his toughness on that, which frankly, is really, really weak on Jordan’s part.

Here’s another fact: Bulls players loved Scottie. They loved him more than they loved Michael. One guy after another has talked about how much they love him. You don’t hear guys saying that about Jordan. And maybe that bothers Jordan.

Or maybe he just still has an axe to grind with everyone and wants to point out how much tougher and how much more perfect he was than his teammate, who was one of the greatest ever. Or maybe he’s just as Grant implies: a bully and he’s using this series to keep on bullying guys. But it’s clear, not everyone is happy with this doc and it’s not just the guys Mike went up against, but also the guys he played with.