Skip to main content

When Michael Jordan defied the rules and brought a kid to the Bulls bench

Michael-Jordan-bench

The Last Dance was a fascinating look into the 90s Bulls. For younger fans, it was a chance to feel a bit of what it was like to be an NBA fan in the 90s. For older fans, it gave us a look into what that era would look like if they had social media.

In the age of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, self-promotion has a different connotation. It's not considered arrogance; it's building your brand and talking to your fans. Grandstanding was considered negative back in the (good old) days. If you just had to guess it, you'd probably say stars of this era do much more compared to the 90s or earlier. That guess would be wrong.

In 1983, a young boy named Dave Rothenberg was set on fire by his father during a custody battle between his parents. With severe burns to over 90% of his body, he miraculously survived. As the tragic news made national headlines, it was revealed the boy was a Bulls fan. After a long recovery, Dave got to meet his idol. Michael didn't just spend time with him - he broke league rules for him.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"Jordan fought to keep his self-indulgence private as well as the burdens he chose to bear beyond the game. “I thought in the early days, he was doing so much, it was unbelievable,” Bach recalled. “He always visited with some person or child who had a last wish. He never turned anyone down. Every night he faced that, and I could never understand how he was strong enough to do it. Kids that were burned, brutalized, and dying by disease or something else. I can still remember he saw a kid who was brought in whose father had burned his face off him."

They brought him in, and Michael talked to him in that old dressing room we had in Chicago Stadium before the game. He just talked to him. You couldn’t imagine, a kid that was hideously burned. And Michael just talked to him. He put him on the bench, and during the game he would come over and ask, ‘How’d you like that jump shot?’ One of the officials came over and said, ‘Michael, you can’t have that kid on the bench. It’s against league rules.’ And Michael looked at him and said, ‘He’s on the bench.’ He left our team time-outs to talk to the kid. I can remember John Paxson and I having tears in our eyes, looking at that scene, because the kid was so hideously burned. And here’s Michael talking to him. So he had that greatness in him. It brought out scenes like that. That was repeated many times. He was a wonder man."

Michael Jordan; The Life", 2014 book by Roland Lazenby

MJ had only had one rule about situations like these - no publicity. The press knew about some of them but respected Jordan's wish to keep it on the down-low. No likes, no engagement, just kindness. The way it should be.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, forward Kevin Durant and guard James Harden

“This has to go down as one of the most epic failures in the history of this league” — Tim Legler shreds the Brooklyn Nets

Two other teams in the modern NBA came to mind as faliures given the talent they had on the roster.

Kevin Durant blasts Philly fans for their chants towards Ben Simmons

Should the Brooklyn Nets regret trading for Kevin Durant?

The Durant-Irving partnership in Brooklyn could arguably go down as the most disappointing one in NBA history.

Detroit Pistons legend Rick Mahorn and Indiana Pacers legend Reggie Miller

Reggie Miller on who he hated facing on the bad boy Pistons — “He ​​had a crazy look in his eye all the time”

There’s a reason why Miller's most feared Pistons player was dubbed as the “Baddest Bad Boy of them all.”

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan and guard Manu Ginobili

"I lost a lot of sleep because of him" — Chauncey Billups reveals who deserved to win the 2005 NBA Finals MVP

Tim Duncan won the 2005 NBA Finals MVP. But Chauncey Billups, as well as some fans, believed the trophy belonged to someone else.

Michael Jordan

Beer drones — the best feature on Michael Jordan's exclusive golf course

Do you want to be a member of the exclusive The Grove XXIII club? Michael Jordan has to invite you first.

miles-bridges-wife-min

Miles Bridges' wife exposes him for domestic violence

The NBA community needs to to better. ”I won’t be silent to protect others anymore because I value myself and my kids more than anyones ‘image’”

Kyrie-Irving-Kevin-Durant-Russell-Westbrook-Anthony-Davis

“The whole NBA just saw this movie” — Zach Lowe shuts down the idea the Lakers could trade for KD and Kyrie

According to the numbers the trade works. Can you count anything out in the modern NBA?

Jaylen Brown responds to Draymond Green's comments

Jaylen Brown fires back at Draymond Green: "Draymond got a podcast and lost his damn mind"

Draymond Green claimed he knew that the Boston Celtics were already defeated mentally after Jaylen Brown's statements. The Celtics forward had something to say to Green on his Twitter.