Documentary “The Last Dance”: Michael Jordan talks about his discomfort with the NBA drug culture in the 1980s


Michael Jordan was 21 when he was drafted No. 3 overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1984. He was a relatively small city child, raised in Wilmington, North Carolina, and stayed close to him for the university. There was no social media – which meant not only that young people were more sheltered from nature, but also that high-profile people could get away with doing things that today would result in a public relations storm.

Sunday evening, as part of the ESPN launch Documentary in 10 parts “The Last Dance,” Jordan detailed how his sheltered world collided with the tough NBA world in the 1980s.

“I had an event, the preseason, I think we were in Peoria,” recalls Jordan. “It was in a hotel, so I’m trying to find my teammates. So I start knocking on doors. I come to this one door, and knock on the door, and I hear someone say, ‘hush, someone is outside. ‘And then you hear that deep voice, someone says,” Who is it? I said ‘MJ’.

“… So they open the door. I come in, and practically the whole team was in there. And it was like, things that I’ve never seen in my life as a young child. You have your replies [of cocaine] here you have your weed smokers here you have your wives here. So the first thing I said, “Look man, I’m out.” Because all I could think of was if they came to attack this place, right now, I’m as guilty as everyone else in this room. And from that moment on, I was more or less alone. ”

Another contributor to the documentary noted Jordan’s modest and “ordinary” townhouse, in which Jordan says he “hangs out, plays cards, watches movies.”

“I didn’t go to clubs, I don’t smoke, I don’t [cocaine] lines, I didn’t drink at the time, “said Jordan. I was just looking to rest, get up and go play. “

There is obviously a lesson here for young athletes with the world, apparently, at their fingertips. For the first time in their lives, they have lots of money and stardom and endless opportunities to enjoy both. This is not to suggest that young athletes cannot, you know, be young and have fun and take advantage of the opportunities that their talent has offered them, but to put the reason for those opportunities first.

“Whatever someone else could have done off the field, whether it was partying or whatever, it was not what he was doing,” said former Jordan Bulls teammate Rod Higgins. “Orange juice and 7-Up, it was his go-to [drink]. “

Again, Jordan, even when young, placed basketball first on his priority list, and he kept it there throughout his Hall of Fame career, even though we know he is become a guy who, shall we say, loved to play and play golf and enjoy a cocktail here and there. Nothing has ever compromised basketball – not just because it was a talent from another world, but because its ethics, competitiveness and drive to be the best have never successfully changed.


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