Giannis Antetokounmpo: 3 things the MVP can learn from The Last Dance

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 01: (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 01: (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo
PHILADELPHIA, PA – APRIL 04: (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Building strong relationships

Perhaps more obvious than any other feature in The Last Dance is just how the strengths, and ultimately some of the weaknesses, of Jordan’s relationships with key personnel largely dictated the rise and eventual fall of the Bulls.

From that perspective, the three most important relationships for Jordan were with the general manager Jerry Krause, the head coach Phil Jackson, and his on-court sidekick Scottie Pippen.

By the end, it seems safe to say that only Jordan’s relationship with Jackson remained entirely robust and tension-free, and yet the fact that Jordan’s rapport with Krause was close to non-existent meant even arguably the greatest player ever to play the game was unable to ensure his favorite coach stayed around longer.

In short, for any superstar in the NBA, the relationships with the top executive, head coach, and second best player are essential for success, particularly if there’s any hope of building a sustained, dynastic run.

With a supermax contract extension facing Antetokounmpo in the decision, the quality of his relationships in Milwaukee will be an important factor, but maintaining a solid footing beyond that is just as important.

From this writer’s perspective, what seems like an unspoken, below the surface tension and resentment between Jordan and Pippen has been one of the more interesting elements of the series so far. Jordan has voiced his feeling about Pippen’s decision to delay his surgery and later demand a trade, but Pippen hasn’t exactly opened up about how he felt on being left to captain the ship alone before that, when Jordan opted to leave for minor league baseball.

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Transparency and understanding on and off the court are essential to any winning organization, and that will likely only become even more apparent as The Last Dance moves toward its final episodes.