That’s Because Michael Jordan Didn’t Have a Team”: When Larry Bird Defended MJ’s ‘Selfishness’ in His Book

Michael Jordan probably has the greatest backing when it comes to the candidature to be the greatest at the sport of basketball. But along with his reputation of being the best, Jordan also had a reputation of being “selfish”. The reputation, which still precedes his Airness, is probably the singular knock on Jordan’s legacy that he never played team basketball. Many even made the singular allegation that, if Jordan was a team player from the start, the Bulls would have won sooner.

“That’s Because Michael Jordan Didn’t Have a Team”: When Larry Bird Defended MJ’s ‘Selfishness’ in His Book

This argument, of Jordan not being a team player during his early years, wasn’t something that sat well with Larry Bird, as the Celtic legend called out Jordan’s critics. In his book, When The Game Was Ours, Bird commented,

Early on, people were saying Michael didn’t have a team mentality…That was because he didn’t have a team.”

No one would disagree with Bird’s analysis, as the Bulls were a mess when Michael first came around in 1984. Jordan averaged an astonishing 31.7 points, 5.6 boards, 5.0 assists, and 2.6 steals in 49.3 per cent shooting. But even with such masterful performances, The Bulls couldn’t make it past the first round.

For many these statements may seem like an exaggeration, but Jordan even while posting record-shattering numbers, couldn’t drag a bag of drug-addicted ‘has-beens’ past the first round. Jordan would drop a post-season record 63 points in game 2 against the Boston Celtics in 1982, just to get swept by the Celtics in the same series.

But things wouldn’t look gloomy forever, as the Bulls would soon bring in Jerry Krause, the magician behind the Jordan Bulls. Krause would go on to trade Scottie Pippen, trade for Dennis Rodman and bring in Toni Kukoc. The fate of the team would soon change, as the franchise would record its first Championship in 1991, under the watchful eye of Phil Jackson and Jerry Krause.

The Bulls had a drug issue in the early ’80s

The Chicago Bulls were a ‘decent’ team during the ’70s, but things went especially downhill during the early ’80s. The Bulls got Jordan for the very same reason, managing to bag the third pick in the 1984 draft. But unknown to many, The Bulls had a reputation of being a “travelling cocaine circus“.

Michael Jordan was even asked about the same on his ESPN appearance. Recalling his experience, Jordan described what he once saw in a hotel room as a Bulls rookie,

” So, they open up the door. I walked in, and practically the whole team was in there. And it was like, things I’ve never seen in my life, you know, as a young kid. You got your lines over here.”’ You got your weed smokers over here…You got your women over here…So, the first thing I said was, “Look, man. I’m out.” Because all I could think about is, if they come and raid this place right about now, I am just as guilty as everybody else that’s in this room.”

Jordan would reportedly always stay away from the drugs, choosing instead to focus on his basketball game, carrying most of the scoring burden for a few years, before Pippen would arrive to relieve him of some of his responsibilities.

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