Winning has a price ...
If you have not lived under a rock for the last month or so you would have heard of The Last Dance, the Netflix documentary which has captivated the globe and given an insight into Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bull's six NBA titles.
In the 10 hours shown, there were a handful of moments that truly stripped away the shutters and showed the soul of the greatest basketball player to have ever walked the earth. Jordan and his legacy are worshipped like a deity, but this was an individual, who in his quest to be the greatest ever, was ruthless and unrelenting with his team-mates and his enemies on court.
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He lived with a "siege" mentality and the documentary even showed he invented some on-court rivalries or situations, simply to fuel himself and the narrative he needed to be successful. Jordan was win at all cost. But it came at a cost.
Near the end of episode seven, Jordan is challenged about how he treated people and it appears to be a moment of genuine introspection.
"Winning has a price and leadership has a price," Jordan said.
"So I pulled people along when they didn't want to be pulled. I challenged people when they didn't want to be challenged.
"And I earned that right because my teammates who came after me, they didn't endure all the things that I endured."
He continues: "When people see this, they're gonna say, 'He wasn't really a nice guy. He may have been a tyrant.
"Well that's you, because you never won anything. I wanted to win, but I wanted them to win and be a part of that as well."
Then Jordan snaps: "Look, I don't have to do this. I'm only doing it because ... it is who I am. That's how I played the game. That was my mentality. If you don't want to play that way, don't play that way."
With that Jordan breaks down and calls for an end of filming. It's a powerful moment.
Maybe it's true what they say. Maybe nice guys finish last. But what is clear, winning has a cost.
MJ did one thing better than anyone else that has walked the earth.
Yet it came at a tremendous human cost.
Super heroes bleed too.
Julian O'Brien is the editor of the Illawarra Mercury
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