Jake Elmanon, Sports Casting, May 5, 2020
ESPN’s The Last Dance has provided a fascinating look into Michael Jordan‘s psyche and what made him one of the most interesting athletes in modern sports history. What the documentary hasn’t discussed yet, and may not ever cover, is Jordan’s 2014 admission he grew up a racist in North Carolina.
Michael Jordan grew up in North Carolina, an area where the Ku Klux Klan had a heavy presence even in the 1970s. Seeing a group of white extremists attack, belittle, and bring serious harm to those who didn’t fall into the Klan’s beliefs shaped Jordan’s opinions on race.
In a 2014 book titled “Michael Jordan: The Life,” Jordan told author Ronald Lazenby about his North Carolina upbringing. Jordan recalled studying the history of his ancestors and watching the miniseries Roots.
Come 1977, Jordan had enough. Jordan recalled retaliating when a white girl at his school called him the N-word.
Michael Jordan said in the weeks before The Last Dance premiered that he thought the series would make him look like a “horrible guy.” Although that may be the takeaway for some viewers, The Last Dance has also served as a reminder of how people can grow over time.