Praising Luc Longley was bad idea, Michael Jordan learned it the hard way

It is hard to argue if there is a bigger name in basketball than Michael Jordan. Jordan’s 15 years in the NBA gifted the fans with many unforgettable moments that vividly live on to this day.

But what about the things that happen behind the scenes or are off-limits in the broadcast?
One such story was shared by Jordan about his 7-footer Bulls teammate, Luc Longley, that he took a bit too seriously.

Michael Jordan regretted over his decision to praise Longley

In an interview, the six-time NBA Champion shared a story about Luc Longley. At the time, Bulls vs Jazz was a hot fixture with the two teams playing in the NBA Finals in 1997. It was a game where Jordan intended to send a statement.

At the beginning of a match against Utah Jazz in 1998, to fire up Longley Jordan gave a speech which he sometimes did before big occasions. With Scottie Pippen out, MJ explained the responsibility which fell on him, Luc and Dennis Rodman.

Understanding the importance of the match, Longley helped the team by contributing 12 points out of 16 that the team was leading by in the first quarter. He also got 4 blocks, and 4 rebounds in that quarter which led the 5-times MVP to praise him.

“That’s how you play, man. You do that. We dominate,” said Jordan. He regretted it later as Luc’s stats did not change in the rest of the match, from having the upper hand, they lost by 15 points.

Luc tried to console Jordan by saying, “It’s okay, mate”. His Airness did not take kindly to his words, and he looked at Luc to say, “You know what, Luc? That is the last time I’m going to give you a compliment in the middle of the game.” The arguable NBA GOAT understood the grave error of his ways.

Jordan repented over Luc’s snub from the Last Dance

The Bulls legend joined the franchise in 1984 and achieved an incredible 6 Championship titles alongside Scottie Pippen. Last year, Netflix aired “The Last Dance,” a 10-episode documentary series that delves into Michael Jordan’s leadership and the Bulls’ journey, culminating in their final title win in the 1997-1998 season.

The series highlighted key players like His Airness, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Steve Kerr, who completely dominated basketball in the last season. However, one notable absence was Luc Longley, another essential member of the team. Longley, who resides in Western Australia, was not interviewed for the series due to budget constraints.

As criticism mounted over Longley’s exclusion, the producers clarified that logistical challenges prevented his inclusion. Despite feeling left out when the show aired, Longley remained understanding, acknowledging the focus on other prominent figures. “There were so many beautiful, bright, shiny stars out there to focus on, that, you know, it makes sense to me that that story wasn’t about me. Makes perfect sense,” Longley remarked.

Jordan regretted not including Luc in their series and expressed the same in an interview saying, “We probably should have [included him]. And if I look back and could change anything, that’s probably what I would have changed.”

Later an Australian angle of the story was covered where the interviews of the then-team members were recorded. When the basketball GOAT was contacted, he agreed to be a part of it to make up for the snub. Even if the Australian basketball Hall of Famer was not included in the original series, he will always be remembered as a part of the Bulls dynasty in the 90s.

SZ Desk

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