Every Time Michael Jordan Displayed Real Housewife Energy in The Last Dance

With his competitive nature, winning streak and trash-talk, Michael Jordan displayed reality star tendencies during The Last Dance

By Tierney Bricker May 18, 2020 8:00 PMTags
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Who knew Michael Jordan would emerge as the breakout reality star of 2020?

ESPN and Netflix's docuseries The Last Dance came to an end on Sunday night, with Jason Herir's 10-part series documenting Michael Jordan's final season with the Chicago Bulls in 1997-98 and shining a light on his career, life and legacy, featuring interviews with Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Phil Jackson and more.  

For five weeks, Twitter was entranced by the legendary star's skills—both on the court and in front of the camera, with MJ delivering memorable .GIFs and one-liners in each episode. Just hand the man an iPad and magic happens.

In fact, his penchant for pettiness and tendency to troll both his competitors and teammates reminded us of the ladies of Bravo, with Jordan displaying some major RHE (Real Housewife Energy). 

Whether he was calling for a "break" during his interview like a fed-up Nene Leakes closing her laptop during a Zoom reunion or holding a grudge against someone for simply not saying hi to him at a restaurant, Jordan proved that Andy Cohen should maybe consider a Real Houseplayers of the NBA, with the icon already earning his basketball thanks to The Last Dance

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We rounded up some of the moments in The Last Dance that cemented Jordan's status as a reality star who could go toe-to-toe with titans like Bethenny Frankel and Vicki Gunvalson, using some of the franchise's taglines to show off his RHE....

Andy Hayt/NBAE via Getty Images

Adrienne Maloof: "Having it all is easy, if you're willing to work for it."

 One thing that became crystal clear during The Last Dance is that MJ is competitive. Like, obsessively competitive, to the point where he would bet on whose luggage would come out first at the airport.

But with that competitive streak came an almost inhuman work ethic, with Jordan simultaneously filming Space Jam and playing three hour pick-up games at night (in a full-size court that Warner Bros. build on the set just for him), in addition to weight training, in order to get back into shape after his comeback season.

"I don't know how he filmed all day and then still had the energy to play three hours," Reggie Miller said. "This dude was like a vampire, for real."

The following season, the Bulls won the championship. 

Brandi Glanville: "I'd rather spend my life kicking ass than kissing it."

Decades later, MJ still has no tolerance for people thinking they were anywhere near his level and will not indulge it.

Phaedra Parks: "Only God can judge me, and he seems quite impressed."

Never forget that MJ one told Pacers star Reggie Miller, "Don't ever trash talk Black Jesus." (Some real James Kennedy "White Kanye West" vibes, no?)

While he retold the iconic line during The Last Dance, Miller actually revealed the story during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live several years ago, explaining when he was a rookie he had decided to trash talk Jordan early on in a game. As Vivian Ward would say: Big mistake. Huge.

"So at half I have 10, and he has four points...end of the game, the second half, he ended up with 44 and I ended up with 12," he explained. "So he outscored me 40-2. And as he's walking off, he's like, 'Be sure, and be careful, you never talk to Black Jesus like that.'"

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Caroline Manzo: "Love me or hate me, I always speak the truth."

"When people see this, they're gonna say, 'Well he wasn't really a nice guy. He may have been a tyrant.' But that's you, because you never won anything," Jordan said in episode seven, addressing accusations of him bullying teammates. "I wanted to win, but I wanted [my teammates] to be a part of that as well."

Bethenny Frankel: "If you can't handle the truth, you can't handle me."

When talking about MJ's leadership style, former teammate B.J. Armstrong said, "Was he a nice guy? He couldn't have been nice." 

We feel like all of the former RHONY cast members who were chewed up and spit out by Bethenny would maybe say the same thing in a few years. Or maybe not.

Warner Bros.

Kandi Burruss: "Don't mess with the boss, because you might get fired." 

Just ask Isaiah Thomas about not making the roster for the 1992 Dream Team.

"The Dream Team, based on the environment and the camaraderie that happened on that team, it was the best harmony," Jordan explained in episode five, though he denied straight-up banning the Detroit Pistons' star point guard. "Would Isiah have made a different feeling on that team? Yes."

Nene Leakes: "Success is in my DNA. When one door closes, another one opens."

Exhausted after his first three-peat with the Bulls and winning the 1992 gold medal with the Dream Team and distraught after his beloved father James R. Jordan Sr. was murdered, Jordan shocked everyone when he announced he was retiring and setting his sights on the MLB.

Catherine Ommanney: "I'm here for a good time, not a long time."

The perfect summary of Jordan's short-lived baseball career.

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Shereé Whitfield: "Don't call it a comeback, call it a takeover!"

Jordan's simple fax statement when he made his return to the NBA in 1995 after his one-season stint in the MLB? "I'm back." 

Raymond Bonar/NBCU Photo Bank

Teresa Giudice: "You never know how strong you are until it's the only choice you have."

For the New Jersey Housewife, it was overcoming jail. For MJ, it was overcoming a possibly spiked pizza, with the docuseries revealing the star wasn't actually suffering from the flu during the infamous flu game; it was just s--tty Utah pizza delivering by five men. Still, Jordan managed to score 38 points, including the playoff game winning 3-pointer. 

Brandi Glanville: "If people can't handle the truth, it's really not my problem."

Arguably one of the docuseries' most talked about moments was the end of episode seven, with Jordan getting unexpectedly emotional when he's asked about not having a reputation as a nice guy in his pursuit of winning.

"I pulled people along when they didn't want to be pulled, I challenged people when they didn't want to be challenged," he said. "One thing about Michael Jordan is that he never asked anyone to do anything that he didn't do."

He continued, "I earned that right because my teammates who came after me didn't endure all the things that I endured. Once you joined the team, you lived at a certain standard that I played the game. And I wasn't going to take any less. Now if that means I had to go in there and get in your ass a little bit, then I did that."

Vicki Gunvalson: "I am the OG of the O.C.; everyone else is just a copy."

Brandi Glanville: "I have fame and fortune, and I've earned it."

Lisa Vanderpump: "The crown is heavy, darlings, so just leave it where it belongs."

After the Chicago Bulls' second three-peat, Jordan told his teammates, "They can't win until we quit." Hyperbole? Maybe. Factual. Basically.


Tamra Judge: "I call the shots in my life now, and I have good aim."

Well...duh. The man holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average and highest career playoff scoring average.

Nene Leakes: "I have arrived, and the spotlight is on me, honey."

MJ had to show up and perform every single game, explaining he knew there was always someone in the audience that had never seen him play live before and was there just to see him in action. He wore the spotlight well. 

As his trainer Tim Grover put it, "He said, 'If you're going to sit down and take three hours out of your day to watch me on TV, I have an obligation to give you my best.'"

Bethenny Frankel: "If you're going to take a shot at this B, you better not miss."

The first rule of playing in the NBA in the '90s? Do not trash-talk Jordan, with coaches advising players not to engage with the superstar, who could use any slight, big, small or fictional, as motivation to go on a tear.

After B.J. Armstrong once gloated a bit after a playoff game, MJ said, "I felt like B.J. should know better. If you're going to high-five, talk trash, now I had a bone to pick with you. You know, I'm supposed to kill this guy. I'm supposed to dominate this guy. And from that point, I did."

Another lesson: always say hi to Jordan when you see him out before a game or he will use your supposed ignorance as fuel. See: NBA coach George Karl snubbing MJ at a restaurant in 1996, so the next game "became personal."

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But the most memorable example highlighted in The Last Dance was Jordan scoring 47 points after LaBradford Smith said, "Nice game, Michael," to him after the previous game.

The problem? Smith never actually said it, with Jordan allegedly making it up. Now that's some Bravo s--t that would sustain half a season's worth of storyline on RHOBH!

Sonja Morgan: "I'm not just a last name. I'm a legacy."

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The Last Dance is available on ESPN+ and On Demand.

(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)