Episode 8 of ‘The Last Dance’ was loaded with fantastic quotes from Michael Jordan, his teammates and his opponents. Here are the 5 best.
5. Michael Jordan on B.J. Armstrong
"“I felt like B.J. should know better. If you’re gonna high-five, talk trash, now I had a bone to pick with you. You know, I’m supposed to kill this guy. You know, I’m supposed to dominate this guy. And from that point, I did.” -Michael Jordan"
In Game 2 of the 1998 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Charlotte Hornets guard B.J. Armstrong had a fantastic game. There’s no denying that. But he woke up Michael Jordan for the rest of the series and that was a fatal mistake.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from The Last Dance, it’s that MJ doesn’t need much to get going. Sometimes he’ll even make stuff up just to motivate himself.
Thanks to Armstrong’s overzealousness after one good game, MJ turned it on and the Bulls didn’t lose again for the rest of the series.
4. MJ on appropriate trash talk
"“That’s the sign of a good man, if you can talk s*** when it’s even score or talk s*** when you’re behind score. When you’re ahead, it’s easy to talk.” -Michael Jordan"
Coming from one of professional sports’ best trash talkers, this quote would be great on its own. But when you watch Jordan deliver this line in The Last Dance, it’s just a beautiful viewer experience.
Jordan drops that knowledge in the locker room while wearing a practice jersey, smoking a cigar and taking mock swings with a baseball bat. While he was saying those words, he didn’t even take the cigar out of his mouth. It’s peak Jordan.
3. Patrick Ewing on the famous double-nickel game
"“It’s unfortunate, you know, because I think I had a great game that game as well. But no one remembers that.” -Patrick Ewing"
Patrick Ewing isn’t the first legendary NBA player to have his individual greatness overshadowed by Michael Jordan’s presence, but it’s still hilarious to hear Ewing talk about it.
He wasn’t wrong, either! In the famous double-nickel game, Ewing had 36 points, seven boards, four blocks and three steals. But nobody cares. MJ was finally back and proved it with an efficient 55-point performance. That’s a good example of the power he had over the entire NBA.
2. Steve Kerr on being punched by MJ
"“We talked it out and it was probably, in a weird way, the best thing that I ever did was stand up for myself with him because he tested everybody he played with and I stood up to him.” -Steve Kerr"
How awesome is it that Steve Kerr is basically saying the best thing he ever did was get punched by Michael Jordan? I mean, if that happened to me, it would be the best thing in my life too so I get it. But Kerr has lived a much more interesting life than I have.
In all seriousness, it makes sense why the Kerr/Jordan kerfuffle led to a really good relationship between the two. As mentioned before, all MJ ever wanted was for teammates to rise to his level. Kerr did that by standing up for himself.
1. MJ on Gary Payton’s defense
"“The Glove! I had no problem with The Glove. I had no problem with Gary Payton. I had a lot of other things on my mind.” -Michael Jordan"
After the Bulls took a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Sonics in the 1996 NBA Finals, Seattle decided to (finally) put Gary Payton on Michael Jordan. (Shoutout to George Karl for not doing this earlier in the series!)
Jordan struggled from the field for the rest of the Finals, which the Bulls ended up winning in six games, and as shown in The Last Dance, Payton is pretty proud of his defense on MJ.
When Jordan saw the clip of Payton talking about how much he bothered MJ, he broke out into violent laughter and dropped the quote above. It’s clear that Jordan isn’t as impressed with Payton’s defense as Payton is himself.
Jordan looked like he was ready to meet Payton in his backyard and play him in an old-man style one-on-one game. For the record, I would support that happening.