ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary recounting the Bulls’ final championship season has the nation riveted, but it’s nothing new for longtime Chicago sportswriter Sam Smith. Smith wrote what is still considered the quintessential book on Jordan and the Bulls with 1992’s “Jordan Rules.”
Smith’s book was the first look behind the curtain at the “real Jordan,” a competition addict who would frequently bully teammates in an attempt to push them to greatness. This ran counter to Jordan’s squeaky clean public image, and led to Smith getting death threats from angry Bulls fans.
Smith joined Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks on Wednesday, and was asked if his book caused anger among the Bulls players. Smith said it was actually quite the opposite, and that many of Jordan’s teammates were happy to have Jordan’s dirty laundry aired out for all to see.
What type of dirty laundry? Here’s an example:
“Players would come to me over the years and said, ‘You know what he did? He took Horace [Grant’s] food away on the plane because Horace had a bad game,’” Smith said. “[Michael] told the stewardesses ‘Don’t feed him, he doesn’t deserve to eat.’
“They would tell me stuff like that and they they’d say ‘Why don’t you write this?’ And I would say ‘Well I can’t write it unless you say it.’ I don’t do ‘league sources.’ You can’t do that kind of stuff on these kind of things. ‘If you want to be quoted I’ve got no problem with that.’ ‘No, no, no we can’t say that about Michael Jordan.’”
Grant was accused by Jordan of being the primary whistle blower when it came to the behind the scenes stories in Smith’s book. Other Bulls players have denied this to be true.
“I could tell all the revelations that were accumulating over the years were a relief for some of the other players. Like ‘let him take the brunt of some of this for a while.’ Which he did.”
Listen to the full interview below.