During his legendary run with the Chicago Bulls in the ’90s, Michael Jordan won six championships and prevented several Hall of Famers from winning titles. He also helped many role players become household names.
Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman were Jordan’s two most famous teammates. However, MJ played with various guys who executed their role to a T, and he was ecstatic for them when the Bulls completed their goal of winning the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Michael Jordan: I enjoy watching my teammates grow
After winning his fourth title in 1996 over the Seattle SuperSonics, Jordan told SLAM Magazine that he enjoyed watching his teammates who had never won a championship before reach the promised land for the first time.
“One of the things I can say that I enjoy the most is watching my teammates grow and become part of something special,” Jordan said. “Guys like Randy Brown, Steve Kerr, Luc Longley, Bill Wennington, Ron Harper — they have never been part of a championship-type team like we have right now. Now that they have a chance, I want them to enjoy it because they know how hard it is to get there.”
Thanks to Jordan, Randy Brown, Luc Longley, and Bill Wennington won three championships. They likely would have never captured multiple titles had they not been blessed to play on the Bulls during the MJ-Pippen era.
Jordan was a demanding teammate and challenged guys in practice because he wanted to win. However, he also wanted his teammates to be a part of the success as well.
Michael Jordan: I never asked a teammate to do something that I didn’t do
One of the most powerful moments from ESPN’s The Last Dance docuseries is when Jordan gets emotional talking about why he cared so much about winning and was sometimes a “bully.” Superman said he earned the right to challenge teammates and be carnivorous since he never asked guys to do things that he didn’t do.
“You ask all my teammates, the one thing about Michael Jordan was he never asked me to do something that he didn’t f****** do,” Jordan said. “When people see this, they gonna say, ‘Well, he wasn’t really a nice guy. He may have been a tyrant.’ Well, that’s you because you never won anything. I wanted to win, but I wanted them to win and be a part of that as well. Look, I don’t have to do this. I’m only doing it because it is who I am. That’s how I played the game. That was my mentality. If you don’t wanna play that way, don’t play that way.”
Jordan crossed the line with teammates numerous times. After all, he did punch Steve Kerr and Will Perdue. However, the results prove that Jordan’s leadership style worked, and the Bulls needed Black Jesus to be tough rather than friendly.
Bulls won six rings in an eight-year span
Led by Jordan and Pippen, the Bulls became one of the top dynasties in sports history. They won six championships in an eight-year span from 1991 to 1998 and three-peated twice. Chicago went undefeated in the Finals, and many of the role players became popular since they played with Jordan.
Jordan was cordial with his teammates off the court and hung out with them. However, he had certain expectations when it came to basketball, and if you didn’t care about winning or work just as hard as him, he would scold you until you got on the same level as him.
Leadership and winning had a price, and Jordan understood that. He had no problem challenging teammates even when he knew he was getting on people’s nerves because he understood the joy everyone would feel once the Bulls finished the season holding the Larry O’Brien trophy.
RELATED: Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen Received Spectacular Praise From Dennis Rodman During Bulls’ 72-Win Season: ‘I’ve Been Around Great Players Before and These Two Guys Are Pretty Much in a Class by Themselves’