B.J. Armstrong: Michael Jordan Stopped Pregame Warm-Ups to Avoid Disrupting Team

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2020

BOSTON - CIRCA 1991: Michael Jordan #23 and BJ Armstrong #10 of the Chicago Bulls talk during a game against the Boston Celtics circa 1991 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1991 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Former NBA player and current agent B.J. Armstrong spent five seasons as Michael Jordan's teammate with the Chicago Bulls between the 1989-90 and 1994-95 seasons, offering him a unique view on how Jordan's celebrity interrupted his life and could even cause disruptions for his teammates. 

Armstrong wrote in an essay for the Associated Press that things really changed for Jordan in 1992, after the Bulls had won their second championship and his international stardom exploded with the Dream Team at the Olympics. That forced Jordan to even alter his pregame routines: 

"Suddenly, he just couldn't do the things that we could do. And he never made excuses for it. I remember the little things, now—he stopped shooting before games, stopped warming up, because he thought it could be disruptive to the team. He was like, 'I don't want to interfere with the team.' He always knew our routines and had respect for them. He always made sure that everyone had their space within the group."

Jordan was arguably the biggest celebrity of his generation, and while he existed in a pre-social media world, his every move, hobby and public comment was dissected. That also led to a number of opportunities off the court, from marketing deals to movies, though Armstrong noted that Jordan always prioritized basketball:

"Regardless of all the other things, basketball was always first and foremost. To me, that was the most impressive thing about watching him on this journey. It was that way in 1984 and it was that way in 1998. Losing, winning, making movies, whatever, he was always committed, no matter what. That is an amazing, amazing accomplishment because it is so difficult."

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Jordan's list of accomplishments are staggering. He was a six-time champion, five-time MVP, six-time NBA Finals MVP, 14-time All-Star, 10-time first-team All-NBA selection, nine-time first-team All-Defensive selection and a 10-time scoring champion.

He helped end the dominant run of teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons in the late '80s and early '90s. He beat superstars like Magic Johnson, Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Karl Malone and John Stockton in the NBA Finals. 

Jordan was on a different level. If winning meant avoiding shootaround to keep his teammates clear of the media circus that tended to follow him to avoid distractions, so be it.