Michael Jordan once had a classic response to a hypothetical about how far he would go to play through an injury

Michael Jordan once had a classic response to a hypothetical about how far he would go to play through an injury
  • "Good Morning America" teased a clip of the Michael Jordan-centric docuseries "The Last Dance" on Thursday in which Jordan and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf argued about Jordan playing through an injury in 1985.
  • Reinsdorf asked Jordan if he would take a pill to cure a headache if it had a 10% chance of killing him, to which Jordan said, "Depends on how f---ing bad the headache is."
  • The first two episodes of "The Last Dance" premier on April 19.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Michael Jordan would have gone to almost any length to play basketball, even if it meant playing through an injury.

On Thursday, "Good Morning America" interviewed Jordan and teased a clip from the upcoming ESPN docuseries "The Last Dance" about Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls. In the clip, Jordan and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf reflected on a moment in the 1985-96 season, Jordan's second in the NBA, when Jordan wanted to play through a broken foot.

The documentary revealed that Jordan had a 10% chance of aggravating the injury and potentially ending his career. Jordan argued that it really meant he had a 90% chance of being okay.

"It's 10%, but a 90% I won't [get injured] ... While I think the glass is half-full, everybody thinks the glass is half-empty," Jordan said in the documentary.

"I said to Michael, 'You're not understanding the risk-reward ratio,'" Reinsdorf said. "If you had a terrible headache, and I gave you a bottle of pills, and nine of the pills would cure you and one of the pills would kill you, would you take a pill?"


Jordan responded: "Depends on how f---ing bad the headache is."

Jordan told Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America" that his determination and grit came from his parents.

Jordan broke his left foot three games into the 1985-86 season. He returned in March and helped lead the Bulls to the playoffs, but they lost to the Boston Celtics in the first round in three games.

Jordan has since said while that at the time, he wanted to ramp up his recovery and return sooner, he now understands Reinsdorf's point of view.

"(Reinsdorf) obviously had a different perspective of things," Jordan told ESPN in 2012. "Being where I am now (as owner of the Charlotte Hornets), I understand it a little bit differently ... Granted, I know the business and you have to be somewhat conservative for the long-term, but you still have to take into consideration the player, how he responds to pain, what kind of guy he is."


Reinsdorf said he used to worry that they let Jordan come back too soon and that the injury would derail his career.

"I made that mistake with Michael Jordan years ago where I think we let him come back too soon. It worked out OK, but it might not have ... I was scared to death he was going to be hurt again, and that would be the last we would ever see of Michael Jordan."

The first two episodes of "The Last Dance" air on Sunday, April 19 on ESPN.

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