“The Last Dance” gave us a real insight into the life and mindset of Michael Jordan and those iconic Bulls teams of the ’90s. We got the chance to learn a lot about the likes of MJ, Scottie, Rodman, and others, but one of the players that didn’t get too much attention was Luc Longley. The Australian center played for the Bulls from 1994 till 1998 and started at the center position during their second three-peat.
He maybe wasn’t the biggest star or stat sheet stuffer, but Longley played his part and did the little things vital for winning. So the fact Longley wasn’t featured a lot didn’t sit well with Australian fans and die-hard Bulls fans. MJ himself admitted it was wrong that Luc wasn’t featured enough and said that would be the only thing he would change. But Luc took it upon himself to make his name known, as the “Australian Story” came out in two parts, showing us the story of Luc Longley.
The documentary revolves around Luc’s upbringing, basketball path, and eventual NBA career that got remembered for his Bulls days. Interviews with Jordan, Pippen, and Kerr really added to the depth of the documentary, as we got another chance to learn more about how those Bulls teams functioned and operated.
MJ’s interview was especially interesting and deep, as he talked about his relationship with Luc. It’s no secret that MJ was one of the most demanding and tough teammates you could ever have. The insane competitive nature would bring the worst out of Jordan, as he wanted his teammates to do their best in order for the team to win. So it was a process for a gentle giant like Longley to make it work with a character like MJ.
While doing the interview for the “Australian Story,” the reporter told MJ about Longley calling his leadership style carnivorous. Jordan burst out laughing at that description but still acknowledged that is a valid statement by describing how he viewed his mentality and leadership style.
“Yeah, I mean, I can see that from his perspective, quite naturally. Look, I didn’t go in there with that mentality. My mentality was to win at all cost, and pull, push, yank, whatever to get everybody on the same page. I understand it, and the thing is that if I would have changed my personality back to something totally different, I wouldn’t be who I would have been. I don’t think we would had the same successes. I think a lot of players probably wouldn’t been the same in terms of their perspective. So yeah, I can see him saying that, but the thing is, it was needed in some respect, and I think our success illustrates that.”Michael Jordan, Australian Story
It’s nice to see MJ talk about Longley with such respect and appreciation, as he showed he still has a human side to him. But at his prime, Jordan did what he had to do to win and satisfy that insatiable hunger for winning at all costs. That rubbed off on a lot of his teammates wrong countless times but still ended being proven effective for winning championships. That’s why MJ wouldn’t change a single thing about his mentality or leadership style, because it ultimately brought him six rings and the GOAT label.
As far as his relationships with teammates go, that part had to be sacrificed to make things work sometimes. Sure MJ doesn’t have beef with anyone except maybe Scottie right now, but the fact is he didn’t make life-long friendships with any of his teammates that are active to this day. That was his sacrifice for the sake of winning, and he would do the same every single time if he had to because of his competitive nature. Truly a blessing and a curse.