During his run with the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan focused on only one thing: winning championships. As a result, the five-time MVP missed out on various social gatherings hosted by Bulls players at their homes.
Luc Longley, who won three titles with Jordan, was the social glue of the Bulls in 1996, 1997, and 1998. He hosted parties at his house where players would bring their kids over, and everyone would have a good time.
However, Jordan wasn’t at the parties because he lived in his own bubble and was so compelled to win.
Michael Jordan realizes what he missed out on
In part 2 of Longley’s documentary One Giant Leap, Jordan admitted that he wishes he could have enjoyed the dynasty years more than he did from a social standpoint. However, he knew his way of doing things would result in titles.
“I wish, you know, I could have, you know, laid back and enjoyed it as much as everybody else, but that didn’t guarantee us success, you know,” Jordan said. “That doesn’t say we’re going to win, you know, so I had to do what I had to do.”
Jordan had a life outside of basketball. He loved to play golf and cards in his free time and smoke cigars. However, his main goal was to win at all costs on the basketball court, and if that meant not going to Longley’s house for barbecues or Christmas parties, then that’s what needed to be done.
Michael Jordan understood that winning had a price
Winning and leadership have a price. Jordan understood that and never took any shortcuts. He didn’t care if his teammates didn’t like him yelling at them. All he was focused on was winning, and if he had to ridicule teammates for them to play better, he did it.
Jordan may have missed out on some fun parties at Longley’s house, and it’s not stated in the documentary if he was at the gym working on his basketball game while his teammates were having fun. What we do know is that the Bulls became one of the greatest dynasties in sports history because of the way Jordan prepared himself and led his teammates in the thick of battle. He took practices extremely seriously and treated them like Game 7 of the Finals. Not everyone on the Bulls had that same mentality.
While it was certainly tough to play with Jordan and live up to his standards, it’s impossible to ignore how successful his leadership style was. After all, the Bulls were the most dominant team in the ’90s.
The Bulls won six championships and never lost in the Finals
Behind Jordan, the Bulls played in six Finals in the ’90s. They went 6-0 and never played in a Game 7. That speaks to how superior they were compared to their competition.
Jordan never took anything for granted. Every practice and game mattered to him because it was a chance to flex his competitive fiber. Losing games were deep indignations to Jordan, who remarkably only trailed a Finals series twice during his Hall of Fame career. Once he figured out a team’s weakness, the Bulls became unbeatable.
Former Bulls guard Steve Kerr said in Longley’s documentary that the parties at Luc’s house are moments he will never forget. It seems like Jordan recognizes what he missed out on, but he was so driven to win that he likely felt he couldn’t partake in social gatherings if it affected his innate personality of being a fierce competitor.