Michael Jordan Worried He’ll Look Like a “Horrible Guy” in ESPN Docuseries

The new show about the 1998 Chicago Bulls, "The Last Dance," debuts on Sunday night

Michael Jordan at the Charlotte Hornets v Milwaukee Bucks - NBA Paris Game
Michael Jordan attends a press conference before 2020's NBA Paris Game.
Aurelien Meunier/Getty
By Evan Bleier / April 17, 2020 6:00 am

After ESPN’s new docuseries about the 1998 Chicago Bulls, The Last Dance, debuts on Sunday night, Michael Jordan is worried the public perception of him will be that he is a “horrible guy.”

As the director of the series Jason Hehir revealed in an interview with The Athletic, Jordan was particularly concerned about how people would feel about him after they saw the way he treated benchwarmer Scotty Burrell during Chicago’s run to their sixth championship in eight years.

According to Hehir, Jordan said, “When you see the footage of it, you’re going to think that I’m a horrible guy. But you have to realize that the reason why I was treating him like that is because I needed him to be tough in the playoffs and we’re facing the Indiana’s and Miami’s and New York’s in the Eastern Conference. He needed to be tough and I needed to know that I could count on him.”

Jordan’s tough love helped the Bulls earn their final title, but it also paved the way for the break-up of the team as neither he nor head coach Phil Jackson returned to the Bulls the following season. Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman also left Chicago after winning the title.

Produced from more than 10,000 hours of behind-the-scenes footage, the 10-hour series will air its first two one-hour episodes on Sunday on ESPN.

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