One Last Dance with MJ

By Johanna-Rosalye Luna

Michael “Air” Jordan. Competitiveness. Dedication. Passion. Champion. Legend. Greatness. GOAT.

Michael Jordan created a dynasty with the Chicago Bulls. Not only the best player in the game of basketball but the best team and some of the players, and possibly coach in basketball brought the Bulls six NBA championships.

In this docu-series we did not only get an inside look at the Bulls franchise but its dynasty. We see that it is not the athletes, but personalities that build a franchise. When Michael Jordan arrived with the Bulls in 1984 he made a promise to the city. He promised that he would bring a championship to the city of Chicago. Jordan kept that promise and multiplied it by six.

Jordan sought respect from the Bulls and built upon it. Stephen Kerr said “Michael Jordan was unique, which made the Bulls “The Bulls”. Michael always wanted to learn and grow, getting better each year, it all started when he was at the University of Chicago. One day he went from Mike to Michael Jordan, which “gave me the confidence I needed to excel at the game of basketball” said Jordan in episode one of ‘The Last Dance’. As stated by then UNC Coach Dean Smith, “Michael was the only player who could turn it on and off, and he never turned it off”, which speaks to the dedication and mentality Jordan had for the game.

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The special thing that Michael Jordan had during his time with the Bulls and what made the dynasty special is that everyone wanted to be a part of something and he made that happen, he knew how to make that happen. The Chicago Bulls were placed in a lucky situation in 1984 when they had the No. 3 pick in the NBA, which allowed for them to select Michael Jordan, just before the Olympics where Michael was able to showcase his ability and skills in basketball drawing popularity.

With Jordan’s arrival to Chicago and a promise lingering over him, he still had to earn his stripes with the team. Evidently, Michael earned the teams respect as a rookie and became the best player in the team. Pat Riley said that Michael proved that “there was none other like him” and “as a rookie he was not a rookie”. Michael has a magic about him, fundamentals, balance and the footwork that made him Michael Jordan. He gave it everything he had each and every game of his career and made Chicago a special place and not only touching the hearts of Chicago but the nation.

Michael always knew there was always someone watching that had never seen him play before and that was what kept him going, he felt he had an obligation and duty to fulfill. However, he didn’t do it alone, it was also built upon the team with the uniqueness each of his teammates. Phil Jackson was a major contribution to that. Phil improved the teams abilities and skills to making each player great in their unique way.

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When Phil Jackson became the Bulls coach in ’89, he had a different approach, one that catered to the team, taking the ball out of Jordan’s hands. Phil created motion. He was creative. He found a way to make everyone better, including Michael, and the players blossomed. With the guidance of both Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan, the team evolved mentally and physically creating the Bulls dynasty alongside Michael Jordan.

Michael’s innate personality was to win at all costs. This came from his motivation of being something outside of his hometown of Wilmington, NC. For him, it was sports. He would take it as a personal challenge if he was told that he couldn’t do it and prove you wrong. He know that we would not be where he is now if it wasn’t for the lessons he learned at young age. Competitiveness was his nature and we saw this on and off the court. Michael played to win. And when he lost, it elevated him to another level, and pushing his teammates to excel with him.

Michael Jordan came to be more than an athlete during his basketball career, he was “more than a status symbol”. He became a cultural icon and changed with the times. After the ’92 Olympics, basketball took off, turned not only the NBA but sports into a cultural place. Jordan accomplished this by setting examples and being an inspiration to those watching.

Photo Credit: Walter Iooss via Instagram (@walteriooss)

Jordan was a competitive beast. Had a no lose mentality. In the series he says “winning has a price and leadership has a price. I challenged people when they didn’t want to be challenged and I earned that right because my team came after me, they didn’t endure all the things i endured. Once you join the team you live by a certain standard that I played the game and I wasn’t going to take any less.” This speaks volumes to his mentality and how high he set those standards not only for himself, but also his teammates. He wanted to win, but also wanted his teammates to be a part of that as well.

This is what made him one, if not, the greatest player in the NBA. Allowed him to excel in the game. Competed against and defeated some of the greatest basket players players in his era, many now Hall of Famer’s themselves. He set records. A 2x Gold Medalist. A 14x NBA All-Star. 5x NBA MVP. 6x NBA Finals MVP. Defensive Player of the Year. 10x NBA scoring champion, 6x NBA Finals champion. Hall of Famer.

Michael’s journey started with hope and he created a phenomenon. He made an impact beyond basketball. He crated a culture.

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