Michael Jordan’s reputation, or at least his reputation as a teammate and a person you’d want to be around, probably took a hit when The Last Dance came out. We’ve seen hints of it before, like during his induction into the Hall of Fame, where he still had some scores to settle.
There was never any denying the fire that drove Jordan. He wanted to win at gold, poker, pool, everything. At one point, the Bulls would not allow him to lift weights with the much stronger Horace Grant because they worried he’d injure himself trying to out-lift Grant. It was the one place where he would have really had a tough time winning.
Of course he wasn’t great simply because of desire. A lot of players have had that level of competitiveness. There are plenty of stories about Mike Krzyzewski’s competitive desire as a coach that are just off the charts. He’s not the only one.
Jordan though matched his insane competitive desire with superb fundamentals and athleticism. Take the first play on this clip.
Jordan goes up for the rebound and plucks it out of the air with one hand. Among his many gifts, he has enormous hands, bigger than Bol Bol’s or Wilt Chamberlain’s. It’s an amazing thing to watch him pull down this rebound.