In his documentary, One Giant Leap, Luc Longley described Michael Jordan‘s leadership style on the Chicago Bulls as carnivorous. The five-time MVP did whatever it took to win and was never afraid to challenge teammates verbally.
Australian Story executive producer Caitlin Shea interviewed Jordan for Longley’s documentary, and the Bulls legend laughed when she told him that Longley called his leadership style carnivorous. However, he completely understood why his former teammate felt that way.
Michael Jordan reacts to Luc Longley’s quote
Jordan told Shea that he could see why Longley said what he said about his leadership style. While smiling and laughing, the six-time champion went into detail about why he was such a demanding and fierce teammate.
“My mentality was to win at all cost and pull, push, yank, whatever to get everybody on the same page,” Jordan said. “I understand it. The thing is, if I were to change my personality to something totally different, I wouldn’t be who I would have been. I don’t think we would have had the same successes. I think a lot of players probably wouldn’t have been the same in terms of their perspective. So yeah, I can see him saying that, but the thing is is that I think it was needed in some respect, and I think our success illustrates that.”
Jordan was extremely tough on his teammates and didn’t care about hurting their feelings. While guys like Longley found his criticisms to be too harsh at times, His Airness knew what he was doing would benefit the team in the long run.
Michael Jordan’s leadership style worked for the Bulls
Jordan wanted to be the best player on the top team in the NBA. He understood the price it took to win and be a leader and never allowed his teammates to play at a standard below what he expected.
In Episode 7 of The Last Dance, Will Perdue said Jordan crossed the line many times and acted like a jerk on several occasions. However, over time, the center learned that MJ’s tactics were for the betterment of the team. He was pushing his teammates to be the best versions of themselves, and his ruthlessness clearly worked.
The Bulls won six championships in the ’90s, establishing themselves as one of the greatest dynasties in sports history. Jordan and Co. three-peated twice and never lost in the Finals. Perdue grew to appreciate Jordan’s leadership style since it netted him three titles despite getting punched by the six-time Finals MVP once.
It certainly took Longley some time to get used to Jordan since he never had a teammate who rode him so hard. However, after winning three championships together, Longley and Jordan went from being teammates to friends.
Luc Longley and MJ keep in touch through email
Jordan and Longley keep in touch through email. The Hall of Famer says he smiles every time he sees a message from his former big man.
“Luc emails me all the time,” Jordan told Shea. “And every time I see g’day mate, it brings a smile to my face in the sense that we don’t spend the type of time we used to, even though if you ask him or you ask me, I think it was genuine time. Even though we were competing and we were learning about each other, and we were pushing each other, those are still genuine times, and you don’t share those with too many people.”
It is certainly great to hear that Jordan and Longley remain friends after all these years. The two Bulls champions went through several battles together in the late ’90s and came out on top three times.