In the wake of ESPN’s 10-part docuseries The Last Dance, many of Michael Jordan’s former teammates, friends, and competitors have added their voices to the conversation on various aspects of the story, many of them painting an unflattering portrait of one of the world’s foremost superstars.
Jordan has taken it particularly hard for his refusal to speak out on social causes during his playing days and withstood accusations that he was more concerned with image and finances than using his considerable platform to help enact change. In Jordan’s defense, he’s become significantly more active in that realm, pledging $100 million to civil rights causes and issuing public support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Still, former Bulls’ teammate Craig Hodges believes Jordan squandered opportunities back during their time together in the ’90s and says that his own activism led to him being released from Chicago and, eventually, blackballed from the NBA altogether. Hodges claims it relates specifically to the Rodney King trial, which Jordan refused to address at the time, and Hodges appearance at the White House with the Bulls in full African garb.
Also unmentioned by the documentary: His three-and-a-half year stint in Chicago came to an abrupt and surprising end for reasons that, according to Hodges, had little to do with basketball.
Meanwhile, Hodges had been unjustly painted as a militant, partly because of his words and actions, and, Hodges believes, partly because of the garb he wore at the White House, all of which made him persona non grata in NBA circles. “Those who consider it extreme, that’s what it is, man,” he said. After four years spent waiting for a call from a general manager or even the opportunity to try out, Hodges finally took the league to court in 1996, but the case was dismissed.
Hodges was a 10-year NBA veteran. He spent four of those seasons with the Chicago Bulls, winning two championships during that time. He’s a three-time three-point champion at All-Star Weekend, and he holds the record for the most consecutive shots made in that event with 19.
(Via The Daily Beast)