Michael Jordan on Documentary Footage: 'You're Going to Think I'm a Horrible Guy'

Stephen Douglas
Michael Jordan during the 1998 NBA Playoffs.
Michael Jordan during the 1998 NBA Playoffs. / JEFF HAYNES/Getty Images

The first two episodes of ESPN's 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls documentary, The Last Dance, will premiere on Sunday night. Today The Athletic published a sort of behind-the-scenes of the making of the film. It only makes the doc sound more interesting. For one thing, director Jason Hehir had to comb through more than 10,000 hours of footage, including revealing, emotional interviews with Michael Jordan himself. Anyone worried that Jordan may be shown with softened edges in the series will be happy to know he's already playing defense.

"When people see this footage I’m not sure they’re going to be able to understand why I was so intense, why I did the things I did, why I acted the way I acted, and why I said the things I said.’ He said there was a guy named Scotty Burrell who he rode for the entire season and, ‘When you see the footage of it, you’re going to think that I’m a horrible guy. But you have to realize that the reason why I was treating him like that is because I needed him to be tough in the playoffs and we’re facing the Indiana’s and Miami’s and New York’s in the Eastern Conference. He needed to be tough and I needed to know that I could count on him."

Burrell appeared in all 21 postseason games for the Bulls that year, averaging 3.8 points in 12.4 minutes. The Bulls avoided the Heat and Knicks that season, but needed all seven games to beat the Pacers. Hopefully, Burrell was one of the 106 people who will appear in the documentary so we can hear how he felt about the tough love.

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