by Alex Poletti
Photo by slamonline.com
In a shocking discovery that may change the way we look at basketball’s biggest icon, the team behind the 10-part Michael Jordan documentary series “The Last Dance” has unearthed a series of racist tweets from the early ‘90s during his first stint with the Chicago Bulls.
“One of our interns found it on a deep dive of Jordan’s social media,” director Jason Hehir says. “We debated whether or not we should have included it in the series, but we thought it would be best to show the whole person, not just the highlights. It’s going to change Jordan’s legacy, but as journalists we couldn’t omit something this big.”
The tweets in question were written on a road trip to Los Angeles during the ‘90-91 season. The Twitter rant covered a range of topics, all rooted in racist and xenophobic rhetoric. It’s unknown how Jordan managed to keep this under wraps for so long.
“We had trouble believing that the tweets were even real,” Hehir continues. “It’s not every day that you find an ignorant, hate-filled Twitter rant that was posted before the platform even existed, but sometimes you have to put your incredulity aside and focus on the truth.”
The tweets have created a firestorm in recent days, with many fans taking his side, while others called for his cancellation. In the aftermath, players stepped forward to acknowledge that this was an issue in the Bulls clubhouse during his tenure as a player.
“He’d say some stuff to me that was really off base, but I’d let it slide,” teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen says. “He was Michael, I wasn’t about to mess with that. I talked to some other players about it, but we didn’t think ownership would take it seriously. He was the star and we all just had to deal with that.”
Always one for equity, Hehir allowed Jordan the opportunity to respond to the critics in the documentary.
“I was young and foolish, and I shouldn’t have put those things online,” Jordan says. “Those were private thoughts I had during a dark time in my life. I know better now. If I knew those tweets would be found, I never would have posted them on the internet, which didn’t even exist when I did so. I hope others can learn from my mistakes.”