Why is Michael Jordan considered an asshole?

In the thread about jerkish athletes, Michael Jordan’s name came up a few times. I’m just curious, what has he done to earn his assholish reputation? I’m not saying the guy’s not an asshole, but I haven’t heard that much about him in this regard other than the gambling problems and Kwame Brown berating.
Also, anyone ever meet him personally?

If it wasn’t clear to everyone before, his Hall of Fame induction speech made it crystal clear.

He still owes me five bucks.

The thing that most often gets cited is that he was allegedly very hard on teammates, humiliating them and verbally abusing them in practice.

Also, he cheated on his wife, like 99% of all pro athletes.

This mostly, i never heard of an ex teammate who had a good opinion of him. Maybe his baseball teammates since he bought them a bus.

As I mentioned in the other thread, it went beyond verbal abuse in practice. From what I have read (sorry, no cites off the top of my head), he would respond to perceived slights with flagrant fouls that sometimes resulted in injuries (there was an incident with Steve Kerr, I believe). I think I remember reading about a few MJ initiated scuffles.

I didn’t think his acceptance speech was anywhere near as bad as many made it out to be. He definitely came across as cocky and self absorbed, but I wouldn’t put that in the pile of evidence showing him to be a jerk.

On the ESPN Classic “You Can’t Blame” episode on Jordan playing minor league baseball, one of his teammates speaks highly of him for getting a team photo and learning everyone’s name before spring training.

Never read it but isn’t there a book “The Jordan Rules” about his time with the Chicago Bulls and often-abrasive personality?

Jordan punched Kerr in the face at practice. Nice guy.

I dunno, I’d say cocky and self absorbed are characteristics of a jerk.

Cocky is a good trait for a world class athlete. Self absorbed, when mixed with cocky, is a big warning flag of jerkness.

There’s a lot of this ESPN segment available at this page.

MJ is basically a self-absorbed egoist. He seems to me to perhaps be the same type of man who hits his wife and then apologizes, swearing it will never happen again.

As a Cleveland Cavaliers’ fan I’m the wrong person to talk, since I consider Jordan to be the spawn of Satan, but that’s just me.

He always just to annoy me when he was interviewed before games and say foolish things like “Nobody thinks we can win” when in fact everyone thought they could win and everyone was fawning all over him.

The only thing I’ve really got on him is that an ex- stripper I know said that he was a really big cheapskate. He’d buy ten lapdances (which at the time cost $10 a dance) and then pay only $50, knowing full well that the strip club wasn’t going to force him to pay the girl the full price because he was Michael Jordan. Yeah, its hearsay from a stripper but that’s all I’ve got.

That’s good enough for me, zam. Everyone knows that strippers never lie. Damn! An asshole and a cheapskate! I’ll bet he was secretly plotting with Wile E. while they filmed Space Jam, too!

Back in the day I knew a young woman who was quite close to many members of the team. Don’t know how much of what she said was embellished, but she made it no secret that MJ was the biggest ladies man of the group - and didn’t slow down a bit after getting married.

But I was a HUGE fan during those years, and never really got the “bad guy” vibe. In my limited experience, a significant proportion of talented athletes are ultra-competitive in a way that comes across as egotistical, demanding jerks. I always thought I heard the comments that he demands a lot of his teammates, but no more than he demands of himself. And no one ever argued the results - no one has ever questuioned whether the Bulls would have had their success without MJ.

The gambling always kinda amused me, because when I saw it added up in terms of his earnings, it came to less than I put on the table in my friendly quarter/half/buck poker games or my weekend nassau on the golf course.

I still wear his underwear.

Please tell me you at least washed it first!

I have two reasons why I’m not surprised that people perceive MJ as a jerk.

First, there’s this anecdote related by Chuck Klostermann for ESPN. I believe the story is also cited in “The Jordan Rules”. Klostermann makes some interesting points in the article and the MJ anecdote is about midway through. Basically, MJ was playing Hearts with his North Carolina’s teammate’s grandmother. She gets up to go to the bathroom, leaves her cards on the table, and Jordan peeks at them while she’s gone. Cheating grandma to win at cards?! Really?

Second, while I haven’t met MJ, I worked with someone that did. So this is total hearsay.

Anyways, he was driving MJ, MJ’s wife, and maybe some others—the story is 10-15 years old. I asked my co-worker how it went, how Michael was, was he a big tipper, etc… I expected MJ to be like every other athlete we dealt with: indifferent at worst and an o.k. tipper. Instead, my co-worker said MJ was verbally abusive to his wife, lots of “Shut up, bitch,” etc… The co-worker thought he was a jerk and an asshole. I don’t remember if he mentioned that MJ tipped well or not.

I believe MJ’s dad was murdered around that time, so perhaps that had a lot to do with his attitude, but I remember my co-worker being very surprised at the reality of MJ in the flesh compared to his image.