During the 1980s in the United States, the illegal drug use in the country was a significant problem. That was an issue that was prominent in professional sports, with many athletes partaking during that time with that primarily coming in the form of cocaine usage. It was an issue that Hall of Famer Michael Jordan had dealt with entering the NBA, which had been a prominent underlying matter that will be detailed in the upcoming Last Dance documentary that followed the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls team.
NBA’s drug issues in the 1980s
The increase in drug usage in the 1980s across the United States had a substantial impact on the sports world.
The NBA wasn’t immune to the involvement of illegal drugs in the league. It had a significant impact on the association with many players indulging in that activity to the point where the drug policy program was instituted in 1984 that could force any player to be tested. It initially included a player treated for drugs three times could be banned from the NBA for a minimum of two years.
Despite that increased scrutiny on drug usage, it was still rampant in the league during that time, even when Jordan arrived.
Michael Jordan dealt with teammates’ drugs use and other activites
That will see the 10-part series explore various parts of Jordan’s career leading up to that magical last campaign in Chicago. One of which will be his time when he first entered the league as he had to deal first hand with the “Bulls traveling cocaine circus” that dubbed by longtime NBA reporter Sam Smith. (H/T Marcus Vanderberg of Yahoo Sports)
“Look, guys were doing things I didn’t see [before],” Jordan said in “The Last Dance.” “I had one event, preseason … I think we were in Peoria. It’s in a hotel, so I’m trying to find my teammates. So I start knocking on doors and I get to this one door and I knock on the door and I could hear someone say, ‘Shh, shh, shh, someone’s outside.’ And then you hear this deep voice say, ‘Who is it?’ I say, ‘MJ.’ And then they all say, ‘Ah [expletive], he’s just a rookie, don’t worry about it.’
“So they open up the door, I walk in and practically the whole team was in there. And it was like things I’ve never seen in my life as a young kid. … [Y]ou got your weed smokers over here, you got your women over here. So the first thing I said was, ‘Look, man, I’m out.’ Because all I can think about is if they come and raid this place right about now, I am just as guilty as everybody else in this room. And from that point on, I was more or less on my own.”
That is the team that Jordan had previously nicknamed the “Looney Tunes” because the team had so many different players that were viewed as castoffs that had personal struggles with alcohol and cocaine abuse. The drug-abuse was running rampant before Jordan’s time with the team that impacted them profoundly.
It’s a time in his career that opened his eyes to the life of a professional athlete that can often lead to the wrong direction.
Many stories will be unearthed in Last Dance documentary
That will be one of the many stories that will garner attention in the upcoming documentary.
It wasn’t a smooth path for Jordan that saw him go through some bumpy roads along the way. That was only further detail the difficulties that come with being a professional athlete with the temptations that are presented on that journey.
Nonetheless, it will provide a better and more precise picture of Jordan with behind-the-scenes footage and stories that will further build his already cemented legacy.