Michael Jordan Put up with More S***, Better Closer Than LeBron: Mark Cuban

LeBron James, Lakers, and Michael Jordan, Bulls

Getty LeBron James, Lakers, and Michael Jordan, Bulls

Back in the spring, ESPN aired The Last Dance, a documentary profiling the Chicago Bulls‘ 1997-98 Championship season.

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The documentary chronicled the Bulls’ last season of their epic dynasty that headlined the NBA throughout the 1990s.

Guided by head coach, Phil Jackson and headlined by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, the Bulls finished the 97-98 season with a 62–20 record.

The Bulls’ ample supporting cast included Toni Kukoc, Ron Harper, Steve Kerr and Luc Longley.

The Bulls went 15-6 in the NBA Playoffs. The Bulls swept the Kendall Gill, Sam Cassell, Jayson Williams-led New Jersey Nets in the first round. In round two, the Bulls beat the Anthony Mason, Glen Rice-led Charlotte Hornets 4-1 and in the Eastern Conference Finals, Chicago beat Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers 4-3 to advance to the NBA Finals.

The Bulls met the Utah Jazz in the 1998 NBA Finals. The Bulls went toe-to-toe with Karl Malone, John Stockton, Jeff Hornacek’s team and got the victory in six games.

That series was magical.

Michael Jordan hit a game-winner against Bryon Russell in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals which sealed the deal for the Bulls. Jordan’s shot against the Jazz turned a one-point deficit into a one-point win for the Bulls who after the ’98 Finals did not return to the postseason again until 2005.

Appearing on the Heavy Live with Scoop B Show, I asked Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban what he learned from The Last Dance. He said a mouthful and in fact he’s impressed by MJ.

What impressed him most?

“The way he treated people just in the bowels of the arena,” Cuban told me.

“You know, the security guards and everything, how he got close to them… the fact that he put up with more s*** than I would’ve. I was surprised about how guys were taking off. That stuff with social media these days, that would not work the same way with that. The pressure would be completely different. Back then you just had to deal with the local newspapers and maybe a little bit of ESPN, but ESPN wasn’t much of a thing then either relatively speaking.And so, I was just surprised how guys would take off. Because that would not fly because there would be pictures everywhere!”

Also on the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show, Cuban explained his position on the difference between Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

At a recent Web Summit, Cuban stated while he’s pick Jordan over LeBron to take a last shot. “If I want a killer who can make the shot at the end of the game, I’ll choose MJ,” he said.

“If I want someone who will make everyone on the team better, I’ll choose LeBron.”

Due to his position on this, I asked Cuban whether he’d pick prime LeBron or prime MJ today if he were to start an NBA team from scratch.

“Because of the expansion draft, LeBron would make everyone better,” he told me.

“So that’s a good starting point. If I had a good squad that I can put together, I want Michael as my closer. Because I think that not that LeBron is [not] a good closer but, Michael’s the best, right? So if the game’s on the line I’d rather have MJ at this point.”

The MJ and LeBron comparison has been a growing debate the last few years. Lakers forward, Kyle Kuzma punctuated it best in a dialogue earlier this year when discussing Kobe Bryant in the conversation as well. “They’re all three different players,” Kuzma told me.

“Obviously Jordan and Kobe played more alike, but you really can’t compare them all. It kinda sucks to compare them because you can’t enjoy what they bring to the game, everything that they brought to it, and their impact. If you compare ‘em. Me, I don’t really compare people I just really enjoy really each other’s greatness.”