Michael Jordan Credits Larry Jordan, His Brother, For His Success

The sibling rivalry that changed everything.

My Sundays for the past few weeks weren't spent mourning the Sunday closure of Chick-fil-A, but for watching ESPN's The Last Dance. You know the one—the 10-part documentary series that gave us an inside look to one of the most iconic basketball seasons, like, ever? We got interviews from Scottie PippenDennis Rodman, and Michael Jordan himself in all of its 10-hour glory. The show covered a range of topics, but a personal favorite was the second episode, when we found out where Jordan gets his drive from—his brother Larry Jordan.

Jordan has four other siblings. First came James Jr. (called Ronnie), followed by Deloris, Larry, Michael, and Roslyn. Larry is 11 months older than Michael, and the two grew up playing basketball every evening in their backyard.

"We had this barbecue pit that we'd use as the backstop, and we'd play baseball with a tennis ball, and we had numerous battles," Larry told ESPN in 2009. "If I lost, I had to keep playing until I won. That's why, more often than not, it would end in a fight."

7th annual michael jordan celebrity invitational golf tournament

(Image credit: Dimitrios Kambouris)

"I don't think from a competitive standpoint, I would be here without the confrontations with my brother (Larry)," Michael says in the documentary. "When you come to blows with someone you absolutely love, that's igniting every fire within you. And I always felt I was fighting Larry for my father's attention."

Anyone with siblings knows there's often an unsaid rivalry when you're younger, whether it's who's coming out on top during Mario Kart (guilty) or who you suspect is "the favorite." Michael explains what went down between him and his brother the best: "When you going through it, it's traumatic, because I want that approval, I want that type of confidence." He continues in the doc, "So my determination got even greater to be as good if not better than my brother."

That rivalry is now in the past; each brother has recognized what the other did for each other in the long run. I mean, Larry even influenced Michael's number selection for his jersey! Michael picked the same number in high school to show that he wanted to be half as good as Larry, who was jersey number 45.

"His level of play was just so much higher than the rest of us," Larry continued in the ESPN interview. "People ask me all the time if it bothered me, but I can honestly say no because I had the opportunity to see him grow. I knew how hard he worked."

As for what Larry thinks about the documentary? Larry hasn't exactly made any kind of comment on the matter yet, but people all over the Internet recognize how influential he was to one of the greatest players of all time.

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Bianca Rodriguez

Bianca Rodriguez is the Fashion & Luxury Commerce Manager at Hearst Magazines, covering fashion, beauty, and more for Cosmopolitan, Elle, Esquire, Harper’s BAZAAR, and Town & Country. She likes lounging about with a good book and thinks a closet without platform sneakers is a travesty.