Raheem Morris sees Jordan-like qualities in his Falcons
“If I could be like Mike,” the song goes.
Now, 28 years after the famous “Be Like Mike” Gatorade commercial starring Michael Jordan first aired, everyone is wanting to be like Mike again.
“The Last Dance,” a 10-part ESPN documentary that covers Jordan and everything that went into his final season as a Chicago Bull (1997-1998), drew millions of viewers each of the last five Sundays before wrapping up this week. In a world without many live sports options, it became must-watch television and a national talking point.
Just like everyone else in the sports world, the Atlanta Falcons are discussing it.
Falcons’ defensive coordinator Raheem Morris told Will McFadden last week he has loved watching “The Last Dance” and especially enjoyed learning more about Jordan’s competitiveness.
"I was always kind of one to go against the Bulls a little bit and cheer for the [New York] Knicks in those days and some of the other guys that were losing to them," Morris said. "But, I realized watching the documentary, as I'm watching Michael Jordan play, I realized I spent half my life hating the guy that I really love the most.
"His competitive spirit, what he does, how he is with his teammates, it's somehow what we always want our guys to do. We want them to be more demanding. With that comes a price at times, people say you could be considered as a bad teammate... that you could be too hard on somebody or you could have a way about yourself that doesn't come across the right way...I think he was able to get the best out of his guys and himself, and it pushed everybody to excellence.”
While Morris acknowledged not everyone can have Jordan-like mindsets, he does see some of that competitive fire in his players.
"We've got a few guys on our team that have some of those qualities," Morris said. "Julio [Jones], in his own way. Matt Ryan, in his own way. Debo [Deion Jones], in his own way. Grady [Jarrett]. So, when they watch [The Last Dance] as a leader [they see] how to pull a person along, how to bring them along, how to get people to a different level."
All four of the players Morris named are relied upon as leaders by the Falcons.
If they can help Atlanta be anything like Mike and his ’98 Bulls this season, Falcons fans will be singing them praises.