ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ is now a bona fide cultural phenomenon — equal parts entertaining and eye-opening.
That was true from Episode 1, when Michael Jordan detailed widespread drug among Bulls players when he first arrived in Chicago. One particular anecdote from the so-called “traveling cocaine circus” happened in the preseason of Jordan’s rookie season, when he allegedly entered a hotel room to find “practically the entire team” engaging in some sort of drug use.
“From that point on, I was more or less on my own,” Jordan said in the documentary.
To some, that anecdote was a telling story about some of the off-court challenges Jordan faced as a rookie in the league. For others — such as former teammate Craig Hodges — it was an unfair portrayal of his team at the time. Hodges, appearing on the Fox Sports Radio show “The Odd Couple” on Monday, criticized Jordan for his recollection of the “cocaine circus.”
“One of the things as players we call this a fraternity. So I’m watching the first episode and I was upset about the ‘cocaine circus,’” Hodges said. “That bothered me because I was thinking about the brothers who are on that picture with you who have to explain to their families who are getting ready to watch this great Michael Jordan documentary event and they know you’re on the team, and now you’ve got to explain that to a 12-year-old boy.”
Hodges was a member of the Bulls from 1989-92, winning two championships with Jordan. The “cocaine circus,” presumably, was no longer an issue by the time he joined the team.
Jordan’s portrayal of the team’s drug use wasn’t the only thing Hodges took issue with, however. He also called Jordan out for calling teammate Scottie Pippen “selfish” due to the timing of his surgery, and for throwing Horace Grant under the bus as a source of information to the infamous book, “The Jordan Rules.”
“Then the Scottie Pippen part. Scottie was ‘selfish’. C’mon man, c’mon,” Hodges said. “And then last night with Horace, that hurt me. I’m letting MJ know that that ain’t right, dude. Horace did not deserve to take the fall for ‘Jordan Rules’. If MJ knows something else and knows Horace’s motive, then tell us how Horace did it for my sake, because I’m your teammate brother, just like they are, and I’m kind of salty how everybody got interviewed but me.”
It just goes to show: “The Last Dance” is merely one version of the events that took place during that amazing Bulls dynasty. And not everyone is going to be happy with the way those teams’ stories are told.