The early episodes of ESPN’s exceptional “Last Dance” docu-series has already shown us that Michael Jordan wasn’t always the easiest teammate to play with.
It’s likely that the coming weeks will continue to show the ruthless, win at all costs side of Jordan, who is widely considered the greatest basketball player who ever lived.
The first glimpse the public got into life alongside Jordan and in the Chicago Bulls’ locker room in the late 90s came with the release of journalist Sam Smith’s now infamous ‘Jordan Rules‘ book. The book was brought up in episode six of the series.
However, at the time, Smith left out a damning story which he shared on KNBR’s Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks Podcast, about Jordan’s treatment of teammate Horace Grant if the former Bulls and Lakers power forward had a bad game.
“Players would come to me over the years and said, ‘You know what he did? He took Horace [Grant’s] food away on the plane because Horace had a bad game. [Michael] told the stewardesses ‘Don’t feed him, he doesn’t deserve to eat.’”
Smith continued outlining he could never write a story on Jordan’s treatment of Grant as he couldn’t get any players to go on the record.
“They would tell me stuff like that and they’d say ‘Why don’t you write this?’ And I would say ‘Well I can’t write it unless you say it.’ I don’t do ‘league sources.’
“You can’t do that kind of stuff on these kind of things. ‘If you want to be quoted I’ve got no problem with that.’ ‘No, no, no we can’t say that about Michael Jordan.”
Series director Jason Hehir explained that he was shocked Jordan approved episodes seven and eight which document what playing with and against MJ was like.
“There’s things in there, there’s language in there that I’m shocked ESPN let us keep in, and there’s behaviour in there that I’m shocked Michael let us keep in.”