One of the biggest criticisms of Michael Jordan is that he wasn't a good team player. Jordan played in the NBA for 14 years on-and-off in the league. During the 80s and the 90s, Jordan was dominating the league as the best player and found incredible success during his stint.
Jordan's biggest calling card was his mentality. MJ wanted to win at all costs and demanded perfection from himself and his teammates. Jordan always gave his 100% but also wanted his teammates to do the same in order for them to stand the best chance to win.
Because of this, MJ had a bit of a reputation as a bad teammate. Because of how highly demanding he could be, the narrative around Jordan became that he was a bad teammate who would verbally berate his fellow players when he felt they weren't giving their all.
This narrative is overblown to a great degree. Several of Jordan's teammates have come forward and spoken about what kind of teammate he was. Players like Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, Bill Wennington, and Will Perdue all spoke about why they benefitted from playing with 'His Airness'.
Pippen, for all his individual greatness, believes that Jordan carried him and the Chicago Bulls for the duration of their time together, so he had no problem covering for him during MJ's iconic 'flu game'.
Rodman, who has an excellent relationship with MJ, called Jordan a God in Chicago, because of how excellent he was during his stint in the Windy City. And he believes that he and Scottie Pippen would be the Jesus and Moses of Chicago respectively.
As for Steve Kerr, he actually had a physical altercation with Jordan during their early days as teammates. But despite their physical confrontation, Kerr and Jordan put their differences aside, leading to Kerr earning MJ's respect. Kerr believes that the altercation with Jordan was a good thing in the long run.
Scottie Pippen: “It was easy. He carried me for like 11 seasons… It was great. You know me and Michael, we have a special bond. We’ve been together for so long.”
Dennis Rodman: “Because back then in 1996, 7, and 8, I was pretty much like on top of the world. In Chicago, Michael is a God and Scottie Pippen’s Jesus. I should’ve been Moses. Like okay, great and I was Rod-Man.”
Steve Kerr (in 'The Last Dance): "We talked it out, and it was probably, in a weird way, the best thing that I ever did, was stand up for myself with him because he tested everybody he played with, and I stood up to him. From that point on, our relationship dramatically improved and our trust in each other, everything, it was like 'All right, we got that out of the way, we're going to war together'. "
Will Perdue: “He crossed the line numerous times, but as time goes on and you think back about what he was actually trying to accomplish, you’re like ‘hey, he was a hell of a teammate’.”
Bill Wennington: “He was pushing us all to be better because he wanted to win. And guess what? It worked.”
Jordan's confrontational nature as a teammate came to light during 'The Last Dance' docuseries. Many former Bulls players spoke about how difficult Jordan could be, and how his behavior was not always the kindest toward them.
But at the same time, they did mention that he had no choice, that the level he played meant that he had to demand the best from his teammates. He couldn't be a nice guy because he was so highly driven to win.
As much as there may be people who want to criticize Jordan for being a bad teammate, the players who actually played with him seem to have no problem. Jordan's attitude was the cost of his elite winning mentality.
And many players have also attested to the fact that they actually improved themselves because of Jordan's attitude toward them. While Jordan's approach to pushing his teammates may not be deemed acceptable today, the players have made their peace with it because of the success they were able to garner with it.
Credit for idea: mjs23goat