ESPN’s “The Last Dance” is one of the biggest stories of the sports universe right now, and at least one of Michael Jordan’s teammates isn’t happy about things being revealed on the show.
Craig Hodges, a former teammate of Jordan’s on the Chicago Bulls, appeared on Fox Sports Radio’s “The Odd Couple” on Monday to discuss “The Last Dance.”
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One thing Hodges didn’t appreciate was Jordan seeming to confirm the Bulls’ “travelling cocaine circus,” one of the highlights of the first night of the series.
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Hodges’ take, from Fox Sports Radio: “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.’
“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.”
It’s worth noting here that Hodges would not have been a member of the team in question on “The Last Dance.”
As Jordan remembered it, his brush with the circus came during the preseason of his rookie year during the 1984-85 season, while Hodges joined the Bulls in 1988. Of course, we don’t know quite how long the circus stayed on tour.
Basically, it sounds like Hodges was concerned this joking tweet from the night of the episode hit a little too close to home for some teammates.
Hodges also took issue with a couple of Jordan’s comments about his former teammates. Specifically, it was Jordan calling Scottie Pippen selfish for purposefully delaying a foot surgery as part of a contract dispute with the Bulls and accusing Horace Grant of being the source of the book “The Jordan Rules” by Sam Smith, which painted Jordan in a bad light.
Then the Scottie Pippen part. Scottie was ‘selfish’. C’mon man, c’mon. And then last night with Horace, that hurt me. I’m letting MJ know that that ain’t right, dude,” he said.
“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.”
Hodges isn’t the only former Bull to publicly disagree with Jordan on Pippen’s surgery, as Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr recently said that the rest of the Bulls were on Pippen’s side in the dispute.
Per NBC Sports, Hodges, who does not appear in the documentary, plainly said that he wanted to be interviewed for “The Last Dance,” which might have made sense given his place in the politics of basketball and past comments on Jordan's lack of political statements. Jordan’s infamous “Republicans buy sneakers, too” quote was a topic on last Sunday’s episode.
Hodges additionally took issue with the timing of the documentary, which ESPN rushed to fill the empty sports scheduled created by the coronavirus pandemic. Hodges noted the increased mortality rate of the black community amid the pandemic.
"How long ago did they do this and it's coming out right now?" Hodges said.
"Just the timing. It's impeccable as a marketer. You got everybody sitting at the crib. You got the No. 1 icon in black America at a time when black people are dying in untold numbers. Why now? Why now? Somebody's got to explain that to me."