“Beyond The Last Dance Podcast” Reveals Even More About Jordan's Crazy Competitive Drive

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“Beyond The Last Dance Podcast” Reveals Even More About Jordan’s Crazy Competitive Drive

Chicago Bulls

If you’re a Bulls fan, it’s scientifically proven that you can’t get enough of The Last Dance, so, fortunately, you now have the new Beyond The Last Dance podcast to listen to.

Hosted by longtime sports journalist J.A. Adande and former-Bull B.J. Armstrong, the new podcast series will dive deeper into some of the overarching topics discussed in the critically acclaimed 10-part docuseries. Even more exciting, episodes will feature never-before-heard audio from certain interviews, as well as several guests who can shed more light on the Bulls dynasty.

On Monday, the podcast officially dropped on the interweb (woohoo!), but you’ll have to be an Audible subscriber to listen, as it appears this is the only platform that will carry the podcast for the foreseeable future.

Having listened to the first two episodes, I’d be lying to you (and we Schuster’s ain’t liars) if I said they provided the same “can’t take my eyes off (or, in this case, headphones off)” response, but they offered interesting discussion, nonetheless.

Episode one, in particular, shared the most new information. Honing in on Jordan’s drive, Adande shared a new clip where Jordan describes his competitive hunger as a curse: “I can’t control it when my competitive juices drive me, and it just drives me absolutely insane.”

The GOAT prefaced this remark with a comment about how the curse should be considered a “happy” one. After all, he did walk away with six championships. Though a curse is still a curse, and Jordan arguably feels the effects of his described curse more today than ever before. As Adande alludes, when Jordan played, he satisfied his hunger. Now, 57, he can’t do what he desires most.

Remember when Jordan broke down during Episode 7 of The Last Dance? That moment might be the best representation of the impact of this so-called “curse.” Rather than dissect that moment further, I’ll share this snippet we wrote back in July, which happens to connect well to the comments shared in the podcast:

Do I think Jordan regrets any of his actions? Heck no. Not for a second. I think he believes he cared for this game more than any other person on the planet, and that’s why he sits there so emotional today. Players say all the time that the money doesn’t matter and the fame isn’t important, but I truly believe Jordan meant it. For Jordan, you couldn’t put a price on winning. I think this is why we’ve seen him fade into the background. He physically couldn’t do the thing he loved at the highest level. In other words, he couldn’t care for the game in the way he was supposed to. Perhaps this is the greater reason we watch him fight back tears. Do I think he’s unhappy? Not necessarily. Do I think he feels incomplete? Yeah. I mean, why else did he return to the game two times?

Also addressed is the fact that Jordan received some backlash for his Hall of Fame speech in 2009. In his interview for The Last Dance, Jordan covered this subject, but it didn’t find its way into the final cut. The podcast shared his full comment, and I don’t think any of us are surprised to hear the man stick by his words:

“You made me intense, you drove me to madness to beat you, or to pass you, or to surpass you, and people took it totally wrong. But those are the same people who didn’t understand the battle. So, it didn’t bother me. It really doesn’t bother me as much as people think, that people misinterpret that speech. It was unorthodox, yes, but it was in lieu of saying thanks to the people who motivate me.”

Is it just me, or is that the vibe you always got? I’ve always been a fan of that speech. Yes, he made fun of people far more than he said “thank you.” But, guess what? That is Jordan’s way of saying, “thank you.” I mean, what made him so savage (and great) was the fact that he took everything so personally. Hell, the guy probably hates me, and we’ve never even met.

Anyway, episode one also features an interview with UNC head coach Roy Williams, who talks about Jordan’s respect for college coach Dean Smith. Then, in episode two, Steve Kerr joins the party to discuss how the Bulls handled so may personalities (answer: Phil Jackson).

Let me know if you listen, and feel free to share your thoughts!



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.