You can make a case that Michael Jordan was the most popular and busiest athlete on the planet during the ’90s. The Chicago Bulls legend won six NBA championships and sometimes had to wear disguises in public to avoid getting bombarded by fans.
Jordan took his basketball training seriously. However, he also valued getting away from the game in the summer since he knew how important it was to decompress mentally and physically.
Unfortunately for MJ, his offseasons were extremely busy.
Michael Jordan didn’t play much ball in the summer
Jordan told SLAM Magazine in 1997 that he didn’t play a lot of basketball in the offseason since he had a lot of obligations.
“A little, not much. I have a lot of endorsement obligations,” Jordan said. “I don’t start my workout regimen until the middle of September. But up until the end, it’s just getting away from the game. I have to fulfill a lot of obligations to some of my friends. Their basketball camps, their golf tournaments. And some endorsement stuff.”
Despite not playing a lot of hoops in the offseason, Jordan’s skills never diminished, and he remained in elite shape. After returning to the Bulls in 1995 following his baseball stint, His Airness didn’t miss a single regular-season or playoff game.
It couldn’t have been easy being Jordan, though. He had no privacy and couldn’t relax during the summer since he had several commitments, and the 10-time champion was fully aware of how hectic his life was.
Michael Jordan: It’s not fun being me
In Episode 6 of ESPN’s The Last Dance docuseries, Jordan starts off on a commercial set where he talks about how it’s not that fun being him. There are a few scenes where the Bulls superstar looks bored since he has to keep saying the same line over and over again until the director likes a take.
“It’s funny, a lot of people say they’d like to be Michael Jordan for a day or for a week, but let them try to be Michael Jordan for a year, see if they like it,” Jordan said. “I don’t think you can see the true Michael Jordan for just a day. I don’t think they quite understand it’s no fun.”
Being famous and wealthy like Jordan has many perks. However, Bulls senior director of public and media relations Tim Hallam admitted in The Last Dance that he wouldn’t want to be Superman since it was an impossible task.
Tim Hallam: MJ was under pressure to be on all the time
Hallam spoke at length about how difficult it was being Jordan during the Bulls’ dynasty in the ’90s. The six-time Finals MVP was under pressure to be on with people all the time.
“I think what people don’t realize is that from the moment Michael Jordan leaves his hotel room, the spotlight is on him,” Hallam said. “Everybody in the world wanted to either see him, talk to him. They all wanted a piece of him in some way or another. He was under pressure to be on all the time with people. I wouldn’t want to be like Mike. It’s an impossible task.”
It’s impressive how Jordan managed his fame so well and never got in trouble with the law. And Despite not playing basketball a ton in the offseason, the five-time MVP did enough before training camp to keep his skills fresh so that he was the best player in the NBA once the season started. Jordan is not only the NBA’s all-time leader in points per game and player efficiency rating, but he also never lost in the Finals.
RELATED: Michael Jordan Told Phil Jackson After His Double-Nickel Game He Didn’t Want to Have Big Scoring Nights Anymore: ‘You’ve Got to Tell the Players They Can’t Expect Me to Do What I Did in New York Every Night’