No One Could Create a Myth Like Michael Jordan

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

It’s summer, so why don’t y’all cool yourselves in the crisp waters of our question bucket! We dive deep for questions, stay deep for answers, and come back to the surface with some truly cursed knowledge. We talk about Michael Jordan’s myth making in The Last Dance, what the best donuts are, weird PR interactions, and more!

Austin: The rampant, not just beef, but vendetta making the Jordan had is is is definitely a high point of the show for me.

Patrick: His own mythmaking is impressive. I don’t believe the pizza story, at all!

Austin: Not at all.

Patrick: Not, not for one fucking second.

Austin: And that people do is a sort of collaborative mythmaking. They want to believe that, they want to believe the only way that Michael Jordan could get sick in the middle of an important series is if he’d been poisoned by the Utah Jazz. Pizza poisoned!

Patrick: But also there’s a digression at some point in which they, and you know you hear this about a lot of long standing high level athletes, it’s often mentioned about you know folks like Tom Brady who likes to stay in a high level of play for a long period of time, in which they have to invent grudges and slights in order to motivate themselves. That was the fascinating part about the pizza story, he’s just inventing a new version of the same slight to put into the myth.

You know this is something that Kobe Bryant tried desperately to emulate and never quite grasped because it always came across, as talented as a player as he was, always came across as a Michael Jordan imitator as opposed to someone on this level, on the on the cultural level. It was just really fascinating to see that kind of laid out, how he like self motivated and I found the bullshit pizza story to just be a natural extension where he’s like “Ah fuck it, I’m just gonna create a bunch of new stories” out of his own myth, and maybe he believes it! I don’t know!

Austin: I mean do you think he believes all of the small little things, like the “golf insult” or the “someone briefly said something behind your back about how they were going to stop you?”

Patrick: I bet he believes it in the moment and then it’s gone, and he would admit to you like “yeah, you know, just needed something.”

Rob: This documentary does get a little tedious in places because so much of it is about “and here’s how Jordan motivated himself in this incident,” and it’s always the same story. It’s always like, “and then that really pissed me off.” It’s like watching him charge up his Saiyan powers again and again. “AHHHH, ALL MY PETTY BEEEEEEFS,” and then everyone’s like “and then he sank a bunch of shots. He really went off.” and like–

Patrick: He’s good!

Rob: Yeah, to me one of the things that really drove even Magic, Magic was trying to make it sound fun, but even Magic seemed a little tired of the guy. As he’s talking about the Barcelona practice with the Dream Team he’s just like “Yeah, he got real pissed, and he just played really hard. That’s Mike.”

Patrick: “It’s cool to get your ass beat by Michael Jordan. Now let’s do that for nine hours.”

Rob: I think the other part is it ends up, because the show always has to return to Jordan as a central figure, you do end up like, I’d have watched an entire documentary about Dennis Rodman. Yeah, tell me more about that guy! Tell me more about Phil Jackson’s relationship with all these egos and conflicting players.

Austin: And also with worldwide spiritualism and his interest in North American indigenous tribal faith. Phil Jackson has a lot going on, he was like a hippie basketball player who became the winningest coach at this point? Because his Lakers run was also incredible.

Patrick: They kind of just gloss over that as an interesting personality quirk that allowed him to manage a bunch of personalities, without really [examining] it. I just wanted to pause, “can I submit a user question? Why? What got you into this?” You know there must have been a moment!

This transcript was edited for length and clarity.

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