Michael Jordan was interviewed for Luc Longley‘s documentary, One Giant Leap, and in classic MJ fashion, the Chicago Bulls legend mocked Longley during his interview. Jordan told a story about how the center played well in the first quarter of a game against the Utah Jazz in 1998 and didn’t perform at all in the remaining three quarters.
Most players would probably get offended if a former teammate ridiculed them in their documentary. However, according to Australian Story executive producer Caitlin Shea, Longley didn’t take offense to Jordan’s story.
Luc Longley was completely cool with Michael Jordan’s story
Shea told Jack M. Silverstein of Substack that Longley wasn’t angry when he saw Jordan talk about the 1998 game against the Jazz where he played well in the first quarter and poorly the rest of the game.
“Luc was completely cool about that,” Shea said. “He loved it. He’s really thankful that Michael agreed to be interviewed, was generous with his thoughts. He just thought it was fantastic. He was pretty pleased with it, I think. Not that I’ve asked him specifically about that, but I know that I’ve heard that story elsewhere. Whether Luc told me that story or somebody else told me that story, I think Luc’s cool with it.”
The video of Jordan mocking Longley went viral on social media. Just like in The Last Dance docuseries, Black Jesus showed off his competitive nature and ruthlessness in Longley’s documentary, which is essentially raw meat to basketball fans.
What did Michael Jordan say about Luc Longley that had social media buzzing?
Jordan struggled with the fact that Longley wasn’t consistent enough when they played together on the Bulls. During his interview with Shea for Longley’s documentary, the NBA icon gave an example of Longley’s inconsistent play, and the story had social media buzzing.
“He may not like this story,” Jordan said. “In ’98, we’re playing the Utah Jazz. Did he ever tell you this? Scottie Pippen was out, and we knew we just played Utah in the Finals the year before. So every game we play against Utah is a message. You want to send a message. I go to Luc at the beginning of the game. I say, ‘Look, Luc, you got to establish yourself inside. You have to dominate. We’re going to come to you early. You’re going to really have to set the tone for us because we don’t have Scottie. It’s me and Dennis and you.’ So he understood that. He knew the importance of that. The first quarter ends, Luc has 12 points, four blocks, and four rebounds. And I go to Luc, and I say, ‘That’s how you fu–ing play, man. You do that, we dominate.’ We’re up by 16. At the end of the game, Luc had 12 points, four rebounds, and four blocks. We were winning by 16, we lose by 15. And I just looked at Luc, and I said, ‘You know what, Luc, that is the last time imma give you a compliment in the middle of the game.’”
A frustrated Jordan sat at his locker after the Jazz game, puzzled as to how the Bulls blew the contest. Longley, whose locker was across from the five-time MVP, told Jordan, “It’s OK mate.” That let Jordan know Longley didn’t receive compliments well since the big man played well in the first quarter and then basically stopped playing after getting applause from him.
After that loss to the Jazz, Jordan learned that to get the best out of Longley, he would have to continue to push the Australian even after a feat was achieved.
MJ had to keep pushing him so he didn’t get comfortable
Following telling Shea the Jazz story, Jordan revealed he needed to constantly push Longley so that the seven-footer wouldn’t get comfortable or complacent.
“You’ve got to keep pushing him,” Jordan said. “You can’t let him get comfortable because he gets comfortable, then he relaxes. We need him to keep being aggressive. I got to keep encouraging him, even when he’s doing well, because he needs that reinforcement. Once I learned that, I understood how our relationship was going to be established.”
Jordan and Longley certainly had their ups and down with each other, but the Bulls won three straight titles in 1996, 1997, and 1998. In the end, Jordan’s harsh leadership style worked for Chicago and Longley.