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Michael Jordan Attacked Dan Majerle In The 1993 Finals Because Jerry Krause Liked Him

One of the threads that runs throughout The Last Dance is Michael Jordan’s intense desire to win at all costs and, on top of that, humiliate people he thought slighted him along the way. He’s detailed how his competitive fire was borne out of fights with his brother over winning and losing as a kid, and not only did he want to win, he wanted to bury anyone that he perceived as someone that threatened his spot.

Isiah Thomas received the brunt of this in Episodes 3 and 4, as Jordan made clear how much he hated Thomas and the Pistons and how cathartic beating them was in 1991 — their spat returns briefly in this episode in a discussion of whether Jordan was a driving force in Thomas being left off the Dream Team. While opposing players like Thomas could drive that fire, it was typically external forces that led Jordan to targeting a certain individual.

In 1992, it was Clyde Drexler that drew that ire because the media was comparing Drexler to Jordan, which he found “offensive.” That summer, it was poor Toni Kukoc who was targeted by Jordan and Pippen during the Olympics because he was Jerry Krause’s new favorite. Sticking it to Krause remained a theme in terms of who Jordan wanted to trounce in 1993, as he caught wind that Krause was fond of Bulls forward Dan Majerle’s defense, and took it upon himself to prove in the ’93 Finals that Majerle was not that good.

“I was a little bit upset that I didn’t get the MVP that year and they gave it to Charles Barkley, but with that said, OK you can have that, I’mma get this,” Jordan said. “I knew that Jerry Krause loved Dan Majerle, and just because Krause liked him was enough for me. You think he’s a great defensive player? OK, fine, I’m gonna show you that he’s not. I put it in my mindset that if I don’t do this, then they’re gonna consider him on the same level as me, and that motivated me to attack.”

It remains incredible to me that Jordan fostered so much hatred towards his GM that he would actively try to dominate players he knew Krause liked just to prove they weren’t as good as him. Poor Thunder Dan didn’t even do anything other than existing and being liked by a GM, and ended up having to deal with an extra-motivated Michael Jordan, hellbent on showing the world that he was an overrated defender.