Michael Jordan Downplays Critics: 'That's You, Because You Never Won Anything'May 11, 2020
Michael Jordan has a message to the haters: Count the rings.
The fact that Jordan wasn't always a great teammate isn't in doubt. Sam Smith's book, The Jordan Rules, first revealed how MJ operated behind the scenes, and The Last Dance addressed the topic as well Sunday.
Jordan defended his tactics by pointing to the results:
Former teammate Scott Burrell came to his defense as well in an interview with HoopsHype's Alex Kennedy: "It was always verbal. It was never physical. That's why when people say 'Are you worried what they're gonna think? Are you gonna worry about how people are gonna take it?' I'm like, 'No, it was never physical. It was all to make me better.'"
Some might counter that correlation doesn't always mean causation. In addition, any implication Jordan's direct, aggressive strategy was the only path to success would be wide of the mark.
The Golden State Warriors reached five straight NBA Finals and won three championships prior to the—possibly momentary—unraveling of their dynasty during the summer of 2019.
Nobody would argue that the Warriors had a dynamic that was always harmonious behind the scenes. However, there haven't been the same kind of stories of Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson or Stephen Curry acting as hostile toward their teammates as Jordan did.
More than anything, it's somewhat contradictory to unflinchingly defend Jordan at a time when the NBA is attempting to emphasize the importance of players' mental health.