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Terry Francona: The '94 Strike Is The Only Reason Jordan Returned To NBA

Illustration for article titled Terry Francona: The 94 Strike Is The Only Reason Jordan Returned To NBA

Every morning, the fine folks at Sports Radio Interviews sift through the a.m. drive-time chatter to bring you the best interviews with coaches, players, and personalities across the sports landscape. Today: former His Airness manager and current Red Sox skipper Terry Francona.

Last night's episode of the ESPN 30 for 30 series Jordan Rides The Bus covered Michael Jordan's sojourn in the minor leagues. Tito joined Dale and Holley on WEEI in Boston to discuss what he thought of the movie, what he thought of MJ as a player, and how the '94 strike is the main reason Jordan decided to return to the Bulls.


On if he watched ESPN's 30 for 30 on Jordan:
"I actually watched part of it and I thought maybe because I lived through it, I actually thought it was kind of disappointing. They were interviewing the real estate lady and I could have done without all of that… Then they used, and I don't know why, a stunt double and I never did quite figure that out. They had so much footage of him playing baseball, again I'm not a producer, but it didn't do much for me."

On if he thinks that if baseball hadn't been on strike next year, Michael would have continued to play baseball:
"Yes, yes I do. I think when we were going through that very difficult time in baseball. I think it gave him an opportunity to do a ton of thinking. He didn't want to get placed in a really difficult situation with the guys that were crossing and the replacement players and it gave him a reason to go back to basketball. I also think that when he went back, he enjoyed playing more. I remember it was on a Sunday and he was on his way to the game and we were at the ballpark and he called from his car. He goes, ‘You know what, I just wanted to tell you, I enjoy basketball more now. I watch what you guys do and you love what you guys do.' And I remember sitting there thinking, ‘You know what, that's pretty cool.'"

On how Jordan played in the Arizona Fall League after Francona's season:
"He did a good job, he did a really good job. He was starting to get the hang of it. He was so hungry for the lingo and he always watched. He was really good for me because I knew him so well by then that he helped with a lot of the younger guys' attitudes and how to do things. We had some guys with a few issues and he was helpful in a lot of areas."

On how Jordan helped him in pickup basketball:
"Yeah, we had a couple blowouts. We got in an argument on the golf course one day. I remember pulling some clubs out of his bag. I was mad at him. On the basketball court, he was screaming at me. Those stories about his competitiveness, those aren't exaggerated."

This post, written by Paul Bessire, appears courtesy of Sports Radio Interviews. For the complete highlights of the interview, as well as audio, click here.

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