What has watching six hours of The Last Dance taught us about Michael Jordan that we don’t already know? We knew he was a sublime talent, probably the best to ever play the game, and had a drive that propelled him above all of his peers.
We’ve heard the stories about his prickliness, about his demanding nature as a teammate. We’ve already seen the screaming heads on the latest iterations of ESPN and Fox Sports morning programming arguing over his merits compared with today’s athletes, the hosts’ plastered-on smile and dead eyes ENDLESSLY debating if he’d be able to hold up against Draymond Green for 30 minutes a night.
These are roundly pointless endeavors and exercises in futility, just a way to fill precious TV HOURS built in to plug the never-ending void between copper knee fit brace commercials and 30 for 30 reruns.
There are no winners. There never are. Unless of course you’re arguing in favor of Michael Jordan being the absolute greatest athlete to ever live at holding a grudge. Then you’re always a winner. The Last Dance proves it beyond a doubt.
Say what you want about The Last Dance, how it portrays Jordan, the role his own production company holds in a supposedly unbiased documentary about him… but you simply can’t argue that the way Jordan holds a grudge, the length the man will go to be petty to any and all who wronged him is simply unmatched.
To this day he seethes at the mention of Jerry Krause, chortling at the mere thought of the man who made his life semi-difficult at worst while he enjoyed his time on the pedestal of the greatest athlete who ever lived. Krause held no true power over Jordan, he wasn’t going to trade him or cut him, but Jordan still BRISTLES with hatred over the thought of the five-foot nothing, morbidly obese GM that tried to take some credit for his role in putting together six championship rosters.
He doesn’t hide it. It doesn’t matter that Krause has been dead for more than three years or that his family will 100% be watching the documentary. Bygones are never bygones if you wronged Jordan…and it’s what made him so feared on the court.
If ESPN producers proposed exhuming Krause’s grave for the final episode of The Last Dance so Jordan could piss on his bones for the final scene, he’d probably wouldn’t agree to it but he’d think about it long and hard.
The grudges sustained him. THEY GAVE HIM LIFE. The smallest slight, the tiniest disrespect, and it would gnaw at his being until he ground your essence into the soil and salted the earth to make sure nothing would ever grow again.
You get the feeling that if Isiah Thomas passed away tomorrow Jordan would show up at his funeral uninvited in a game-worn Dream Team jersey and demand to give the eulogy to bury him one last time.
We ooh and ahh over Kevin Durant having Twitter burners to passive-aggressively interact with fans. Jordan humiliated a 19-year-old Toni Kukoc on a global stage to send him back to war-torn Croatia simply because Krause was negotiating a contract with him before Pippen. Fuck your background, fuck your hard life, fuck your war-torn country that he couldn’t even locate on a map. He didn’t care if you learned to play on bombed-out courts growing up, if you were in constant fear of civil unrest.. you were going to be made an example of if you wronged him. Sorry. Them’s the breaks.
To be able to hold that much hate and drive in your heart is nigh impossible for mere mortals. Have you ever been truly furious at someone? It’s exhausting. It saps your energy, it drains you of everything… but it fed into Jordan’s essence… it was manna from the gods to sustain his soul.
Nobody in today’s game could possibly live up to that amount of hatred, that amount of pure spite, that amount of GRUDGE to become the undisputed best. There’s too much social media, too much passive-aggressive sniping and worries about image and sponsorships. You can’t hold that level of PURE SPITE in your heart like Jordan and come out with a clean image on the other side.
Nobody can sustain that amount of bile in their hearts day in and day out like Jordan. Well, maybe Russell Westbrook, but he sucks (don’t show him this please).
Long live Jordan, the GOAT of the grudge.
Kinkead: I feel like I should add this clip of Colin Cowherd taking umbrage with a Mike Sielski column on the documentary –
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) May 5, 2020