According to Running With The Bulls, Luc Longley’s 1996 basketball confessional, he didn’t really care for Michael Jordan. “I found him difficult to be around and he and I obviously didn’t see eye-to-eye. We were at each other’s throats in practice and … that was a case of frustration from both of us, mostly from him.” Longley was never tough enough for the maniacal Bulls legend, which makes their success on the court all the more impressive.
An amiable Aussie who grew up watching Australian rules football instead of basketball, it makes sense that Longley experienced some growing pains when he first joined the league. But, as The Ringer documented in a 2018 profile of the enigmatic center, it’s Longley’s retirement that proved truly surprising. That’s when “he slipped into a Luke Skywalker state of isolation in his boyhood home of Perth.” Apparently, he missed the NBA so much in those days, he couldn’t even watch it on TV. He had to go cold turkey if he was ever going to break his basketball habit.
“It’s like a girlfriend that you love who leaves you,” he said at the time. “The last thing you want to do is see her at breakfast. … You spend your whole life being a basketballer, and suddenly I wasn’t anymore.” He’s since joined the Australian National Team as an assistant coach, proving some things you just can’t quit.