Michael Jordan once said that he took great pride in not having his friends, guys like Barkley and Ewing, win titles against him and the Bulls.
An important distinction to make between Michael Jordan and LeBron James would be that James put the Eastern Conference on lock while Jordan put the entirety of the NBA on lock. Once ‘His Airness’ figured out the secret to becoming a winning team, he simply did not stop and won 6 championships in a span of 8 years.
Numerous NBA legends like Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Gary Payton, Karl Malone, John Stockton, with the list going on and on, could not claim a single title during the 1990s. This was all thanks to Michael Jordan being as relentless as he was in his quest to win another one. Like Tom Brady, it felt as though his favorite championship was always, ‘the next one’.
Jordan addressed his dominance over the league during an interview with Stuart Scott in the late 90s and explained his mentality throughout this near, decade long stretch of Finals runs.
Michael Jordan loved not letting his friends win chips while he was still playing.
During the one-on-one interview, Stuart Scott brought up the idea that perhaps, the Houston Rockets’ Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler only won titles because of his absence from the league. To this, Michael Jordan responded with:
“You know, you can talk about it, I joke around with my friends about it, Charles and Patrick and all these guys. I take great pride in making sure that they don’t win. I want them to win, but I just don’t want them to win when I’m still playing. I want them to feel like if they won a championship, it doesn’t feel quite the same because they didn’t face Michael Jordan.”
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During this same interview, Jordan also talks about how he, contrary to popular belief, does not lose sleep over any shortcomings. He claims to see the situation as one that was not meant to be won by him but knows that he gave it his all. Certainly a drastic difference from how people make him out to be.