Michael Jordan Refused to Sign Autographs for His Chicago Bulls Teammates Without Getting Something in Return

While no one could argue with Michael Jordan’s athletic ability, His Airness wasn’t always the nicest guy to deal with. Almost every basketball fan has heard stories of MJ’s trash-talk and insatiable desire to win. Even the other guys on the Chicago Bulls’ roster could feel Michael’s wrath on occasion.

Although being Michael Jordan’s teammate came with some perks, unlimited autographs weren’t one of them. In fact, His Airness would only sign an autograph for a fellow Chicago Bull if they gave him something in return.

Michael Jordan didn’t pull any punches, even if you were his teammate

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For a basketball fan, hitting the court alongside Michael Jordan would probably be a dream come true. Being a member of the Chicago Bulls, however, wasn’t always a happy experience.

MJ, for better or worse, had an incredible will to win. On one hand, that was a good thing; that drive inspired him to spend hours in the gym, honing his craft and striving to be the best he could be. On the other, though, he could hold others to unrealistic standards.

Jordan refused to let anyone hold him back, including his Chicago Bulls teammates. On one occasion, for example, he destroyed Rodney McCray’s confidence with some brutal trash-talk during a scrimmage. On another, His Airness literally punched Steve Kerr.

Even those who didn’t actively clash with MJ still could have some issues. Dennis Rodman, for instance, wouldn’t speak to His Airness beyond the basketball court.

Michael Jordan refused to sign autographs for the Chicago Bulls without getting a favor in return

Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan signs an autograph on the golf course.
Michael Jordan signs an autograph for a fan. | Michael Bezjian/WireImage

For all of the challenges dealing with Michael Jordan, the rest of the Chicago Bulls roster still reaped some rewards from playing alongside a living legend. Unlimited autographs, however, weren’t part of the deal.

“Autographs were a sore subject among the players,” Sam Smith explained in The Jordan Rules, which was excerpted in the Chicago Tribune. “Jordan wouldn’t sign autographs for his teammates, and when he did, he expected a favor in return. It’s why the coaches had to stop asking him. Like everyone else involved with the Bulls, they were bombarded with requests for Jordan’s autograph from friends, but Jordan would eventually expect some kind of payment.”

Even Phil Jackson, who was theoretically in charge of the Bulls, had to follow that rule.

”[Stopping the requests] is one big thing that helped my relationship with him,” the head coach explained. ”He couldn’t look at me as someone asking him favors.”

The Chicago Bulls weren’t the only ones to have issues with His Airness’

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As you might imagine, Michael Jordan received plenty of requests over the years. His Chicago Bulls teammates, it seems, weren’t the only ones to have a less-than-ideal experience.

In 2009, Chamillionaire apparently attended a charity event and spent $7,500 on a Michael Jordan jersey. His Airness, however, was also in attendance, and the rapper hoped that he could score a picture with the NBA legend.

Jordan, however, wasn’t interested in giving away a photo for free; he apparently told Chamillionaire, “You pay $15,000 right now for a jersey from me, and I’ll take a picture with you.”

In terms of his athletic ability, Michael Jordan is one of the best ever to set foot on the hardwood. When it comes to doing favors for people, though, he’s seemingly a bit out of his element.