In his years with the Chicago Bulls, Luc Longley knows first-hand just how competitive former teammate Michael Jordan is. So he knows the agony Jordan is going through as the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, whose season just ended in infamy as the team with the worst record in NBA history.
“I think it’s always hard when you’re losing. I feel for Michael – it hurts Michael to lose. It doesn’t matter if its cards, golf whatever it is – he is just that competitive,” said Longley, who is in Manila as part of the Jr. NBA program.
Longley could definitely relate to Jordan. After retiring from the NBA, the 7-foot-2 center also tried his hand at team ownership in his native Australian Basketball League.
“I owned the Perth Wildcats for six years, which means I’m a slow learner. Because it took me that long to learn that you can’t make money out of basketball in Australia,” Longley quipped.
He said that he still keeps in touch with some of his former Bulls teammates, and is still good friends with their former coach Phil Jackson.
“I went to Chicago in January with my family and caught up with Scottie and Randy Brown, also with Steve Kerr in the All-Star games a couple of months ago. Phil Jackson, I keep in touch with him a lot. I was given an award in Los Angeles this year. He gave a speech on my behalf so it’s lovely,” said Longley.
But since hanging up his sneakers in 2001, he has spent most of the past decade away from basketball and away from the spotlight.
“I’ve been spending lot of my time with my kids in the last 10 years, which is why I stayed from basketball a bit. It’s given me time to raise my kids,” he said.
“The kids right now are getting a bit older. One of them is at the University of Melbourne and the other is just coming out of high school in the next pay day month. So I’ve just started to re-engage with basketball.
“So the last 10 years have been precious years for me. Had to be there with my wife, so I haven’t kept up the times so I wanted to be around and spend a lot of time with them. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”