Throwback: When Michael Jordan Taunted His Chicago Bulls Teammates And Called Them 'Twenty-One Feet of Sh-t'

We all know the standards that Michael Jordan set for himself and for his teammates and when it wasn't met, MJ wasn't shy to go after his own teammates.

Updated on Jun 25, 2024  |  07:56 PM IST |  80K
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Michael Jordan

Two main features defined Michael Jordan's dominance in the 1990s. The first feature was an unmatched capacity to lead his team in critical moments while playing on the court. The second feature was his commanding presence off the court, Michael Jordan held his teammates to a high standard and frequently publicly chastised those who fell short. This was evident when he made a scathing comment about three different Chicago Bulls' big men.

Michael Jordan

Who are the Bulls players that MJ called out?

Mike was not limited to disparaging his opponents; he also did this to his teammates. The Bulls had three centers in 1997–1998: Joe Kleine, Bill Wennington, and Luc Longley. Jordan had high expectations for his team's centers, but Longley only managed 11.4 points and 5.9 rebounds, Wennington 3.5 points and 1.7 rebounds, and Kleine 2 points and 1.7 rebounds per game.

When faced with the harsh truth that none of these players, with their considerable height advantage, could match his performance, MJ didn't hold back. Photographer Walter Iooss Jr., who was there then, described how the six-time Finals MVP bluntly conveyed his dissatisfaction with them.

Iooss said, "In 1998, the Bulls had Joe Kleine, Luc Longley, and Bill Wennington as their centers. One day, Michael was in the training room after practice, and I was sitting there while he iced down. Those three centers walked by, and Jordan said, 'You know what I have to play with?' He looked right at them and said, 'Twenty-one feet of sh*t.'"

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Michael Jordan

Were the Bulls' centers that bad?

Wennington and Kleine played in more than 45 regular-season games for them, but their contributions were minimal in their defense. With a team that had a record of 62-20, both players played an average of less than 10 minutes per game, so it's safe to assume they weren't on the court during pivotal moments.

In contrast, Longley averaged 11.4 points while starting, averaging 29.4 minutes per game. He also led the team in blocks at the same moment. It's clear from this that his performance was anything but "sh*t."

ALSO READ: Michael Jordan Once Revealed the Only Player in NBA He Couldn’t Dominate; Details Inside

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