The Last Dance: Michael Jordan fights back the tears as NBA icon discusses the impact his father’s senseless murder had on him

An emotional Michael Jordan has opened up on his father’s tragic death on the popular Netflix documentary The Last Dance.

Jordan’s life was torn about in 1993 after the senseless killing of his father, James R. Jordan, something the NBA legend says had a fundamental impact on his life.

Michael Jordan - The Last Dance: Michael Jordan fights back the tears as NBA icon discusses the impact his father’s senseless murder had on him
Michael Jordan was visibly emotional when discussing his father’s death
ESPN Films/Netflix

The documentary is largely focused on Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls in 1997/98, but also reflects on his tight-knit relationship with his late father.

“He was my rock. You know, we were very close. He constantly gave me advice,” Michael recalled, in the latest episode of the ten-part series.

“I remember, in ninth grade, I got suspended three times in one year.

“My father pulled me aside that summer and said, ‘Look, you don’t look like you’re heading in the right direction. You know, if you want to go about doing all this mischievous stuff, you can forget sports.’ And that’s all I needed to hear.”

“From that point on, it was like tunnel vision. I never got in trouble from that point on.”

James was the ‘voice of reason that always drove and challenged’ the sporting legend, so his brutal murder saw Jordan’s outlook on life change forever.

James was shot to death on July 23, 1993 while taking a nap on the side of a road having become restless on a drive home.

The two attackers hid James’ body in the woods before escaping the scene in his car.

“You know, my mother was so strong,” he said fighting back the tears. “The first thing she says, ‘You know, you got to be thankful.’ You know, and I started looking at the positive.

GettyImages 450861982 - The Last Dance: Michael Jordan fights back the tears as NBA icon discusses the impact his father’s senseless murder had on him
Michael Jordan pictured alongside his dad, James, in 1988 after receiving an award
Getty

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“One of the things that he always taught me is that you have to take a negative and turn it into a positive. So I started looking to the other side of it, and that helped me get through it.”

Conspiracy theories aplenty then started to arise regarding his father’s murder – with some suggesting the death was related to Jordan’s alleged gambling problems – claims he vehemently denied.

Addressing those rumours, he said: “It did hurt, you know, but you had people that were throwing darts who wanted to hurt me anyway.

“It wasn’t from the people that I loved or the people that knew me and people that cared. It was the people that, you know, who got tired of me being on top.”

 

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