Like many NBA superstars today, Michael Jordan had his fair share of complaints about his teammates. At one point, Michael felt that his teammates didn’t appreciate his overall efforts and sacrifices and that they depended on him too much to do everything on the court. So when Jordan reached his boiling point, his father, James Jordan, encouraged him to retire from basketball all season because he was so burnt out.
Jordan didn’t like how his teammates complained.
During the 1992 season, Jordan averaged an outstanding 33.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and a career-high 2.8 steals per game in the 78 games he played that year. He was the undisputed best player in the league, and it was clear that Phil Jackson ran the offense through him.
While MJ deserved all the credit and praise he received, it left a bad taste and developed jealousy amongst his teammates. Jordan revealed 2 years after his first retirement that he and his father were bothered by his teammates complaining about the appreciation he received from everyone.
“I covered their (butts) when they got tight at the end of games, and I had to overcome fourth-quarter deficits all by myself. It bothered my father a lot, just as it bothered me, to hear them (complaining) about not getting enough credit, or not getting enough shots, or squawking about the supposed preferential treatment I was getting from (Coach) Phil (Jackson).” Jordan said, as reported by the Los Angeles Times in 1994.
The same Los Angeles Times report also revealed that Jordan was frustrated that whole season and that caused his father to encourage him to retire. He felt that his teammates had no idea how much pressure and grief he was playing through while carrying them on the basketball court.
Jordan’s teammates realized they were wrong.
When MJ retired from basketball for the first time in 1993, the Chicago Bulls were left with Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, B.J. Armstrong, Steve Kerr, and the rest. Jordan said that this was when Pippen realized the difficulty of carrying a team while battling the spotlight and pressure off the court.
“Scottie found out the hard way what it’s like to be under the microscope 24 hours a day. For the first half of the season, he did great carrying the team; the second half not so great,” Jordan said.
The 1993-1994 Bulls, post-Jordan’s first retirement, finished the regular season with a mediocre 55-27 record. They were good but not great. They concluded their season with a second-round loss to the New York Knicks in the Playoffs, and it was clear that they severely missed Jordan.
This was when Jordan’s teammates realized that Michael deserved all the praise and attention because, after all, not everyone is capable of doing what MJ did for the past 3 years.