Those who have watched The Last Dance over the last few weeks have seen that Michael Jordan wasn’t always the easiest person to get along with, especially if you were his teammate with the Chicago Bulls.
But former Bulls center Will Perdue, who teamed with Michael Jordan for parts of six seasons in Chicago, has taken things a step further, saying that MJ’s Bulls teammates had better relationships with Jordan’s father than they did with No. 23 himself.
Michael Jordan demanded a lot from his Chicago Bulls teammates
Throughout the years, so many stories have come out about just how tough Michael Jordan was on his Chicago Bulls teammates, especially during the championship years. Many of those stories have been retold during The Last Dance. Jordan demanded that every single member of the Bulls roster work just as hard as he did, which some say was nearly impossible, which led to numerous altercations, including fights with Will Perdue and Steve Kerr.
Yes, it’s true that Jordan’s intensity made his teammates better basketball players, which ultimately helped the Bulls win six NBA titles in the 1990s. But that didn’t always lead to friendships. Jordan was a very guarded person, which he almost had to be given his unparalleled level of fame. But Jordan didn’t seem to care too much about what his teammates thought about him personally, as long as they produced on the court. In one of the best and most emotional moments of The Last Dance, Jordan broke down when explaining why he was the way he was, which many of those same teammates came to understand years after the fact.
James Jordan was very involved in his son’s career
On the same night The Last Dance delved into a few of the relationships that Michael Jordan had with his Bulls teammates, the ESPN docuseries also discussed the relationship MJ had with his father, the late James Jordan, who was murdered in the summer of 1993.
James Jordan was the biggest influence on Michael Jordan’s life and was constantly by his son’s side through all of the ups and downs of his career. We all remember the elder Jordan right by Michael’s side when he won his first NBA title in 1991. When the pressure got to be too much for Michael Jordan, there was James Jordan to talk to the media.
But it wasn’t just game days when James Jordan would hang around. James was a constant presence at Bulls practices at the Berto Center, which apparently led to some great relationships with his son’s teammates.
Will Perdue says that Michael Jordan’s Bulls teammates built stronger relationships with James Jordan than they did with MJ
While James Jordan obviously had a strong connection to his son, he also built relationships with Michael Jordan’s teammates with the Chicago Bulls, which Will Perdue recently explained in an interview with CBS Sports.
“As far as M.J.’s dad, he was the nicest person. You’d be so surprised … his dad was always around the practice facility. As soon as practice was over, Michael would be gone, but his dad would drive separately, and his dad would stay behind and hang out with us. I remember numerous occasions when we were at the Berto Center, the practice facility, him and I would just sit down and have conversations about anything and everything.
If you were there shooting late, he might come out and rebound for you, he might come out and just start talking to you when you’re shooting free throws, walk with you as you walk off of the floor. He might come in the locker room, he had the run of the joint. He was so genuine, he was such a gentleman. Quite honestly, a lot of the players had stronger and better relationships with him than they had with Michael, and a lot of it was that he made himself more available than Michael did.”Former Chicago Bulls center Will Perdue on Michael Jordan’s father, James Jordan
By connecting with his father, perhaps Will Perdue and others somehow felt a little more connected to Michael Jordan himself, which makes the untimely death of James Jordan that much more tragic.