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Michael Jordan Would Try To Get Scott Burrell To Fight Him ‘In A Good Sense’ In Practice

One of my only real complaints about the first three weeks of The Last Dance is that I’ve felt it’s held back on the behind the scenes footage — namely from practices during that 1997-98 season — that we had been promised in the build up to the documentary’s airing. We were told about the thousands of hours of unbelievable amount of footage they had from this season, but with so much focus on telling the history of Michael Jordan and the Bulls, not a lot of that made the cut in the first six episodes.

Happily, we get more of those videos this week as episodes seven and eight explore Michael Jordan the teammate in more detail, including a section dedicated to Jordan picking on poor Scott Burrell, who has been a punching bag for Michael at various times previously this season. Jordan’s various teammates interviewed for the documentary were all asked about Jordan’s infamous competitive nature in practices, and offered their memories of those days in the gym.

“Every time we would play good and we were winning games, everything was OK, but everyone was always on alert around Michael after a bad game like that,” Toni Kukoc recalled. “He would say, ‘You motherf*ckers didn’t do a thing today. Come ready for practice.’”

“His theory was, if you can’t handle pressure from me, you’re not going to be able to handle the pressure of the NBA playoffs,” Steve Kerr said. “So he talked trash in practice, he went after guys. He challenged guys.”

They then show footage of him going after Scott Burrell, whooping and whistling at him, letting Burrell know it was about to be a long day.

“‘Woo,’ I remember, yeah,” Burrell said with a laugh. “He wants to win and you gotta earn everything in Chicago. There was nothing easy, nothing given to you and you gotta go out and earn it. And you earn it in practice.”

As Jordan remembers it, he targeted Burrell because he knew his work ethic didn’t match up with his talent, and he insisted on bringing out more in him. His methods in doing so were, well, very much unique to Jordan, as he says he would try to get Burrell to fight him “in a good sense” — which made me laugh a lot — but couldn’t because Burrell was too nice of a guy.

“Scottie Burrell was a talented guy. What Scottie was lacking was a commitment of determination, seriousness,” Jordan said. “So he became my guy to kinda push — keep pushing, keep pushing. I tried to get him to fight me a few times — in a good sense — like I’m tired of you picking on me, that type of mentality. I could never get him. He’s such a nice guy. But I know we’re going to need him at some point and time, and he’s going to remember this and he’s going to go out there and he’s fight.”

To his credit, Burrell handled Jordan’s prodding well and always talked right back to Mike and didn’t back down. Burrell doesn’t seem to harbor any ill will towards Mike and seems to understand where Jordan was coming from in his methodology of going after him in practice.

“You’re playing with a guy that has the highest standards of any basketball player ever,” Burrell said. “You want to live up to that challenge. It’s tough, tough love. You’ve got to go out there and do your job.”

Still, some of the stuff they showed from Jordan was vicious.

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Here Are Your 2020 Men’s And Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match Winners

Fan-favorite performers won both the men’s and women’s Money In The Bank ladder matches this year, and both wins managed to screw over King Corbin.

While the other matches on the 2020 MITB PPV took place in the Performance Center, the show’s namesake matches went down at WWE headquarters, Titan Towers in Stamford, Connecticut. To win the match, a wrestler had to reach the roof of the build and climb a ladder in the wrestling ring on the roof to unhook a Money In The Bank briefcase. That wasn’t the only unique thing about them: the men’s and women’s matches also took place at the same time, an element that played into one of the finishes.

The men (Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio, Aleister Black, King Corbin, Otis, and AJ Styles) started their match in the fitness center of the building, while the women (Asuka, Lacey Evans, Nia Jax, Carmella, Shayna Baszler, and Dana Brooke) began by a bank of elevators. The groups of WWE Superstars briefly ran into each other as they fought through hallways and conference rooms, engaging in an intergender food fight and some actual intergender wrestling when Baszler choked out Mysterio.

Nia Jax and Asuka were the first two wrestlers to reach the roof, soon joined by Lacey Evans. Asuka managed to take out both of her opponents, but faced another obstacle in King Corbin, the first man to reach the ring. Corbin started fighting Asuka for the chance to reach one of the two briefcases first, but she knocked him off the ladder and unhooked the women’s white briefcase for the win. You can check out that finish here:

After the women’s match wrapped up, Otis arrived at the ring, but his weight was an issue for the ladder, as people who tuned in for the last Smackdown before MITB had seen. As Otis hesitated to climb, Corbin recovered enough to attack him, and soon the rest of the men joined the possibly deadly rooftop fight.

Eventually, both Styles and Corbin were close to grabbing the case when Elias showed up and hit Corbin with his guitar, knocking him off the ladder. Styles had a hold of the briefcase, but the impact caused him to fumble it. The briefcase fell into the arms of Otis, who shouted out a Rocky-esque “Yo, Mandy!” in his show-closing celebration.

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Two Superstars Met Their Demise On The Roof Of WWE Headquarters During Money In The Bank

WWE’s 2020 edition of their Money In The Bank pay-per-view was one for the record books. For the first time ever, all 12 Money In The Bank ladder match combatants, both male and female, competed at the same time to secure one of two briefcases suspended high above the rooftop on WWE’s corporate headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. Something something risk something something reward.

The main event was a surreal experience, with mid-match food fights, surprise cameos, intergender combat and plenty of broken office furniture along the way — but nothing was more shocking than what happened once the competitors made it to the rooftop.

After getting knocked off a ladder earlier by women’s Money In The Bank winner Asuka, King Corbin rallied by throwing not one but two fellow male competitors off the roof of WWE headquarters. So, uh, if you’re a fan of Rey Mysterio and/or Aleister Black, you may want to avert your eyes now:

Here’s the good news, though: Despite murdering two human beings in front of an audience of millions (or not — the camera repeatedly showed the wrestlers were on a raised platform, so Zelina Vega and Dominic can rest easy), Corbin still wasn’t able to win the men’s Money In The Bank match, losing the briefcase to Otis, of all people.

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WWE Money In The Bank 2020 Results

Here are your quick and dirty, editorial-free WWE Money in the Bank results for May 10, 2020. The latest live special from the Performance Center (and the WWE Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut) featured two Money in the Bank ladder matches happening at the same time, matches for the WWE and Universal Championships, and more. Make sure you’re here tomorrow for the complete Best and Worst of Money in the Bank column.

WWE Money in the Bank 2020 Results:

1. Kickoff Show Match: Jeff Hardy defeated Cesaro with a Swanton Bomb.

2. Fatal Four-way Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The New Day (c) defeated Forgotten Sons, Lucha House Party, and The Miz and John Morrison. Big E hit the Big Ending on Gran Metalik to retain the championship for his team.

3. Bobby Lashley defeated R-Truth. This was originally scheduled to be Truth vs. MVP, but Lashley interrupted a pre-match argument about basketball and took MVP’s place. Lashley won with a spear.

4. Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Bayley (c) defeated Tamina. Sasha Banks distracted Tamina, allowing Bayley to counter a Samoan drop into a crucifix pin to win the match. After the match Tamina tried to Samoan drop Bayley again, but was stopped by Banks.

5. Universal Championship Match: Braun Strowman (c) defeated Bray Wyatt. Wyatt wrestled as himself and not The Fiend, and had his puppets at ringside. Strowman put on Wyatt’s black sheep mask, and the two men hugged. Wyatt was happy until Strowman took off the mask, powerslammed Wyatt, and won the match.

6. WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre (c) defeated Seth Rollins. Rollins has a new entrance theme, which you can hear below. McIntyre won with a Claymore Kick. After the match, McIntyre and Rollins shook hands.

7. Money in the Bank Ladder Matches

As advertised, the men’s and women’s Money in the Bank ladder matches took place simultaneously, starting at the ground floor of WWE Headquarters in Stamford and working their way up to the roof. Brother Love (in the bathroom), Stephanie McMahon (in the conference room), Paul Heyman (in catering), John Laurinaitis (in the cafeteria), Vince McMahon (in his office), The Undertaker’s casket with spooky lighting, and (someone wearing the face paint of ) Doink the Clown made cameos.

WWE Network

Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Asuka defeated Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, Dana Brooke, Lacey Evans, Carmella. Asuka pulled down the briefcase after knocking King Corbin off the ladder, as he was trying to fight her for the briefcases for some reason?

Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Otis defeated Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio, Aleister Black, King Corbin, and AJ Styles. AJ Styles and King Corbin fought for the briefcase at the top of the ladder, but dropped it into Otis’ arms. Otis was declared the winner.

You can watch highlights of this here.

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Neil Gaiman Claims His Goodreads Account Was Hacked By Someone Who Wanted To Flame Amanda Palmer

Last week celebrity couple Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer announced they were calling it quits after over a decade of marriage. The news came as a shock, but that was nothing compared to what happened Saturday, when someone on Twitter posted screenshots of what seemed to be a truly sick burn from Gaiman to his soon-to-be-ex: His Goodreads suddenly said he was currently reading a book about how to split from someone with “borderline or narcissistic personality disorder.” A mere handful of hours later, Gaiman — who tends to be calmer and more cutting with his public tussles — claimed he was simply hacked.

Still, there was still a good stretch of the day in which social media addicts at least assumed it the first public throwdown in what could be a nasty divorce. The book in question was Randi Kreger and Bill Eddy’s Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone With Borderline Or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and one eagle-eyed follower on social media’s most popular reading site noticed it had prime real estate in the comics legend’s bedside reading pile.

To some, it seemed like legit shade, especially as Palmer announced their split on, of all places, her Patreon page. Of course, it might have seemed a stretch that the creator of Sandman, Good Omens and American Gods could be that vindictive. And it seems like he wasn’t: As per The A.V. Club Gaiman quickly updated his Goodreads page, eliminating the Kreger-Eddy tome, and adding a quick note, painting it as untrue. “Whoa,” Gaiman wrote. “Someone with a dark sense of humour just hacked this account. (I suppose that’s what I get for leaving it here and not doing anything for a long time.)”

So there you have it. The A.V. Club leaves open the possibility that Gaiman simply backed off of a really, comically nasty joke, but it’s worth noting his Goodreads page is more of an author’s page, with no mention of what good reads he is indeed reading. Does this mean we’re spared a brutal public famous people divorce? What would Morpheus do? He probably wouldn’t start a flame war with an ex over social media, that’s what.

(Via The A.V. Club)

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Phil Jackson Told Michael Jordan He Was ‘Denying A Gift To Society’ By Retiring In 1993

The primary focus of the seventh episode of The Last Dance is Michael Jordan’s stunning retirement from basketball in 1993, his stint as a member of the White Sox organization, and return to the Bulls 18 months later. The documentary explores what went into that decision, from apparent consideration of retiring during the summer of 1992 to his father’s murder in July of 1993 that only further pushed him away from basketball and towards baseball.

When Jordan first told Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf he wanted to quit, Reinsdorf says he didn’t try to talk him out of it but said he couldn’t make that decision until he sat down with Phil Jackson. For Jordan, he felt he had done everything he wanted to in basketball and was mentally and physically exhausted.

“We were coming off of three championships,” Jordan said. “I fulfilled my responsibility to the city, to the Bulls, to my teammates.”

Jackson and Jordan met, just the two of them, in Reinsdorf’s office in the Bulls practice facility, and Jordan explained where he was at.

“I told Phil, look, I’m about here,” Jordan said while raising his hand to the top of his head. “I’m done. I have no more challenges. I have no motivation. I was done.”

Phil recalls not making too big of a push for his superstar to come back, but did note that by leaving the game in his prime was taking something significant away from society.

“This was a young man that had gone through some heart rending things,” Jackson said. “You’re denying a gift to society, but I understand, you know, I understand.”

One of the things that’s really shined in this documentary has been how incredibly understanding Jackson was as the coach of the Bulls, understanding his players in a way few do, or are willing to do. He got Dennis Rodman and understood his unique needs in a way few coaches could — Chuck Daly did this as well — and even though he was seeing the best player in the world retire in his prime and leaving his team, he understood why and understood that, if nothing else, Jordan needed some time away from the game.

Jordan, of course, would eventually return — and he even addressed that as a real possibility in his retirement press conference — but Phil Jackson handled a difficult conversation about as well as he could given the circumstances.

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David Stern On The Michael Jordan Secret Suspension Conspiracy: ‘No Basis In Fact’

Michael Jordan shocked the world when he opted to retire after the 1992-93 NBA season. This ground gets covered in episode seven of The Last Dance, with longtime reporter Andrea Kremer alluding to the fact that “nobody could rationalize” why the best basketball player in the world, fresh off of three championships and still in his athletic prime, would hang them up.

Of course, there was a lot of speculation at the time — some of which still exists to this day — about whether this was a retirement at all. For a myriad of reasons, people found it plausible that Jordan’s time away from the league was actually a league-mandated suspension.

“Look at some of the events that have recently happened,” Kremer said. “His father was tragically murdered, there’s a number of questions about his gambling, you start to connect some dots and you think, ‘Is this all related? Was this a secret suspension?’”

“The retirement, there were any number of people who would say, ‘Well, David Stern suspended him, right? Wink wink, a suspension, right?’” ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said. “And that was out there.”

Plenty of folks interviewed made cases for why the case for this was tenuous at best, but prior to his passing earlier this year, former NBA commissioner David Stern — who presided over the league at the time of Jordan’s first retirement (and, for that matter, his next two retirements, too) — addressed this in the documentary.

“The folklore, the urban legend, that I sent him away because he was gambling, ridiculous,” Stern said. “No basis in fact whatever. I can bang on a table and say it’s a calumny, slanderous lie or whatever. It’s just not true. Never was, never will be, no matter how many times people ask the question.”

Jordan confirmed in the doc that he just needed a break, while longtime associate Mark Vancil claimed that Jordan laid out, in detail, what he was going to do a year before he pressed the eject button.

“The conspiracy stuff was stupid because I had sat with him a year earlier, he had told me what he was gonna do,” Vancil said. “In tummer of ’92 and it’s the Dream Team summer, you could tell he was really tired, as tired as he’d looked and as beat up as he looked. And I said, ‘So what’re you gonna do?’ There’s a long pause and he said, ‘I’m gonna shock the world.’ He said, ‘I’m gonna quit and go play baseball.’ And I said, ‘When?’ And he said, ‘Well, I’d do it right now, except Bird and Magic never went three in a row and I gotta do the Olympics. But if it wasn’t for that, I’d be playing this summer.’”

As the doc touched on, it is quite easy to piece together how a secret suspension could have been plausible. But either the NBA is full of a whole lot of people who are incredible liars, or Jordan really did retire for the reason that everyone has said led to his retirement for decades.

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Michael Jordan Addressed Rumors His Gambling Was Tied To His Father’s Murder In ‘The Last Dance’

Episode 7 of The Last Dance delves into a couple things relating to Michael Jordan’s first retirement in 1993 that many were curious if they would even discuss. One is the conspiracy theory of Jordan’s first retirement being an 18-month “secret suspension,” which David Stern addresses and insists is totally false.

The other is speculation that the murder of James Jordan, Michael’s father, in the summer of 1993 was in some way related to his gambling. It was something theorized almost immediately, as Jordan’s gambling had come into focus during the 1993 playoffs, and remains something people still believe.

Jordan addressed it quickly in the documentary, noting that at the time it did hurt but he believes it was only coming from people that didn’t know him and wanted to hurt him.

“It did hurt, but you had people who were throwing darts that wanted to hurt me anyway,” Jordan said. “It wasn’t from the people I love or the people that knew me or the people that cared. It was the people that got tired of me being on top.”

Others like Sam Smith and Bob Costas called the public speculation of that in the papers “cheap shots” and noted there was no evidence to link the two things.

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