A new documentary under the name 'Australian story' recently came out. It features a more in-depth story about Luc Longley, his career, and why he was initially left out of 'The Last Dance' documentary. In The Last Dance, we had the opportunity to hear the origin stories of some players playing for the Bulls during those championship runs; however, Luc Longley wasn't included.
Therefore, in the Australian story, there was a segment with Michael Jordan sharing how his relationship with Longley looked like and why it also took time for them to figure things out on how to make it work. Jordan shared how during a game against the Utah Jazz, he learned not to compliment Longley ahead of time.
Jordan was known as demanding, and he constantly overlooked his teammates, making sure they are fully prepared, especially when it mattered the most in playoffs. That is why when he complimented Longley way too early in the game, he realized he made a mistake as a leader.
He might not like this story. In 98, we are playing Utah Jazz. The first quarter ends, and Luc has 12 points, 4 blocks, and 4 rebounds. I got to Luc and say, 'That is how you f***ing play man, you do that we dominate". We were up by 16 at that point. At the end of the game, Luc had 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 blocks. We were winning by 16, and we lost by 15. I just looked at Luc and said, that is the last time I'm going to give you a compliment in the middle of the game.
Michael Jordan, via The Australian Story
Luckily for Longley, it didn't take long for him to understand where Jordan was coming from and how essential it is for him to be consistent. In an era where every great team had a dominant big man on their roster, Longley stood his ground against some of the best centers in the NBA. He played well within the Bulls system, providing crucial defensive presence, and did all the little things that can't be seen in the stat sheet.
Like a true leader, Jordan had to adjust his approach towards Longley and eventually learned what makes him tick as a person. As we all know, all that proved to be successful since Longley was a starting center for the Bulls during their second three-peat. It's great we were able to hear his side of the story about the Bulls, their dynasty, and what type of relationship he had with other members of that legendary team.