After getting drafted by the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan’s impact on the franchise was immediate. Most of the people expected him to have a smooth transition into the NBA, but a few of them anticipated that he would become a top 10 player in the league already in his rookie season. The Bulls were a mediocre team at that time, so everybody looked at Jordan as a savior of a franchise that didn’t have much success in previous years.
When Jordan got drafted by the Bulls, he immediately imposed a different type of mentality and established leadership. When asked if there is something that he learned from the veterans on the team, Jordan said there isn’t, because they developed a losing mentality that he wanted to change.
“Do you really want to know what I learned? Not to be like them. I learned how to be a leader in all respects — just trying to lead the team out of losing all of the time. The attitude was pretty acceptable here, of losing, so I was trying to break the mold.”
Jordan was known for being a fierce teammate who expected 100 percent from his teammates. Tony Kukoc often said that the Bulls practices were much harder than the actual games because Jordan was all over everybody if they were working hard as he did. Jordan wanted to make sure everybody understood what it takes to the next level, where the franchise was never before his arrival.
“People say I was a demanding teammate, but really that was leadership. I was the only guy left from 1984. I was there when there were 6,000 people in the stands. So I took pride in making sure every guy understood what it took to get us to this point, and by no means am I going to allow you to come in and change what we’d begun- the transformation of a city that’s never had a championship. I used my aggressive language, my aggressive behavior, to make you conform. Some people looked at this in a whole different frame of mind.”
Jordan often got criticized by the media about the way he puts pressure on his teammates on a daily basis. Obviously, that raised a lot of attention, and at first, Jordan was offended by those comments but later realized people don’t understand what it takes to compete on such a high-level year after year.
“At first, I was offended. Then I realized people don’t understand our journey. I bet if you ask anyone now on those teams, they have a greater appreciation for what we achieved as opposed to the method we went by to achieve what we achieved.”