Michael Jordan to the Max (2000) Movie Script

-What time is it?
-Game time!
From North Carolina,
at guard, 6'6", Michael Jordan!
Every day that l stepped
on the basketball court,
even though l was on top of the world,
l felt like l had something to prove.
After Michael Jordan's final season,
the NBA gave him yet another
Most Valuable Player Award,
and said the reason is simple.
"After 13 seasons,
you still go out every night
"and play like Michael Jordan."
When Jordan would go out
for the spotlight introduction,
he would look up into the stands
and he would realize
that there was at least
someone up there that night
who had never seen him before,
who would never see him again,
and this would be the one
Michael Jordan moment they ever had.
And he would say he was playing
for those people there.
We had a six-game road trip.
Michael had had some spasms
in his lower back.
And we literally had to
carry him off the bus,
off the plane to the bus,
from the bus to the hotel.
It amazed me.
He went out and got 40 points that night.
This is the kind of player he was.
He wanted everybody
to see his special skill,
and he didn't want people
that loved basketball
not to have that opportunity.
When the Playoffs began,
in his heart, Michael already knew
that these would be his last games.
But this would be no nostalgic farewell tour.
He was determined to go out
on his own terms,
as a champion.
The Bulls' first-round opponents
were the New Jersey Nets,
young and full of hope.
Michael was dominant.
It was a three-game sweep,
built on mental toughness
as much as physical talent.
And for Michael,
the way to develop the mind
had always been through the heart.
A lot of parents are asking me,
"well, what advice
would you give my kids?"
And my advice would be
let them just enjoy the game.
l think what they have to learn more about
at that young age is their love for the game.
And once they've developed that,
then the mental part is easy.
l didn't really get instruction
until l was a junior in high school.
First, l just loved the game
and l let my skills develop.
So l believe in learning late.
Playing early, but learning late.
Michael's love of the game
was born in his hometown
of Wilmington, North Carolina,
during long afternoons on the playgrounds.
His older brother, Larry,
helped Michael hone his game
in their epic battles of one-on-one
at their backyard hoop.
But Michael's first hard lesson
would come when he tried out
for the varsity team at Laney High.
When l was a sophomore in high school,
like most high school kids,
you get all the energy and all the motivation
and excitement
of making your varsity team,
which is a big thing.
Status is a lot when you're in high school.
So you can imagine the disappointment
that l got
when l felt like l should have made the team,
but then didn't make the team.
I'm crying, l lost my emotions totally.
My mother came to me
and said, "Use that energy
"to prove to the coach and to your peers
and your classmates
"that they made a mistake."
You give it your best.
You try so hard and you get to the point,
"l know l can do it."
And if you try one more time,
you are able to achieve it.
It's going one step farther.
That's not giving up, it's giving your best.
l only will walk away when l know
l do not have anything else to give.
The disappointment was so deep, like a cut,
it struck the fire in me
to make sure that l never endure
that type of pain again.
In the second round of the Playoffs,
Michael returned home with a vengeance.
Playing the Charlotte Hornets,
it would be Michael's last
professional appearance in North Carolina.
Its always been a treat to come back home
when you've grown up here and you go out
and become a man on your own,
and then come back home to show
what's evolved of that person.
For fans who had watched him
since his days as a Carolina schoolboy,
what emerged now was not just the skill,
but the willpower.
Those who remembered his raw potential
now saw the results
of a lifetime of hard work.
He would go to JV practice and practice,
and then he'd go to varsity practice.
We'd play ball games,
and after the games were over,
he'd run what we called "suicides"
or line drills.
He'd run those by himself.
l just marveled at his work habits even then.
With his competitiveness
to go with all that dedication,
it was something to see.
The weakest part of Michael's game,
on the offensive end, was his shooting.
So he obviously mastered something
that everybody said he couldn't do
when he came out of college.
And he did it by shooting and shooting
and shooting and shooting consistently.
The other thing that people told him that
he wasn't a really good defensive player.
And he found a way, not only to become
a great defensive player,
but the best defensive player in the NBA.
This guy said, "Those are my weaknesses.
"Im going to figure out how to
make those my strengths," and he did it.
l got a glimpse, really, of Michael Jordan,
and what he was all about,
the first time l ever coached him.
About two minutes to go in the game,
l called a timeout,
and we were down two.
It was right there in the balance.
And l had some little powder on my mouth
from where l chewed some gum
and chewed it so hard
that it really had become powder.
And Michael grabbed a cup of water
and he handed it to me,
and he said, "Take a drink of this water.
Clear that stuff off your mouth.
"Im not going to let you
lose your first game."
The level of faith that l have
in anything in life
is taught to you from your parents.
It is a trait that l would never
trade anything for.
And if l can ever pass anything
on to my kids,
it would be to be optimistic
about everything in life.
He was only a freshman at
the University of North Carolina,
but with the 1982 NCAA Championship
at stake,
his team's fate was in his hands,
and he never hesitated.
Goes back to Michael Jordan,
jumper from out on the left!
The Tar Heels are going to win
the National Championship!
After l hit the shot,
my father came to me and said
this was the start of something big.
He didn't know what it was.
l didn't know what it was.
But l did believe him.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Welcome to flight 23.
Please make sure your seat belts
are securely fastened
and extinguish all smoking materials.
Michael came along at a time
when globalization really was occurring
and an explosion in media was occurring
and he helped drive that explosion.
Yo, Mike, what makes you
the best player in the universe?
-Is it the haircut?
-No, Mars.
Is it the shoes?
There have been so many things
that he has popularized,
the shorts, the shoes. "Must be the shoes."
Money, it's got to be
the shoes! Shoes! Shoes!
l think Michael's transcended
every boundary
of gender and race and age and sport.
l think he's become sort of
a part of our everyday culture.
I've missed more than 9,000 shots
in my career.
l think what made him so special
as a marketing icon, is that he was natural.
Today, when everyone
really tries to be like Mike,
they're trying so hard to invent a persona,
l think that people see through that
and it doesn't stand the test of time.
Ive failed over and over and over again
in my life,
and that is why l succeed.
Good afternoon, everyone,
and welcome once again
to Bulls basketball, Playoff basketball,
as we move to the
Eastern Conference Finals,
the Bulls and the Indiana Pacers.
These two teams were two and two
in the regular season.
But the rivalry really begins on
a Sunday afternoon in Chicago,
Miller and Jordan and a cast of characters
that is not afraid to win.
There's Michael, slips and falls down,
gets back up into the lane,
hops through, falls,
fires on the rim and it's good!
The Indiana Pacers, with their
outside shooting and physical play,
were a team custom-built
to defeat Michael and the Bulls.
In the first two games of the series,
even though the Bulls
would win both games,
it was clear that the Pacers would pose
their first real test.
Rose backs in.
Now, Rose, stripped by Michael.
Stolen by Scottie.
To Harper. Harper on the run.
Lead pass, Toni Kukoc to...
He dunks the ball with one hand!
Oh, my!
For the next two games,
the scene shifted to Indiana.
On their home court,
the Pacers would win Game 3
behind their tireless guard, Reggie Miller.
Lead pass ahead for Mark Jackson.
This is what Indiana wants.
They run to Miller for three. Got it!
In Game 4, the Bulls led by a point
in the final seconds,
when Miller and Jordan
would square off again.
Here we go. McKey holding, looking.
Here comes Miller to the top.
Miller, a catch. Miller, a look. He hit it!
Reggie Miller knocked it down.
Four-tenths of a second left.
Toni, out near the time line.
Looking, looking, looking,
looking, looking, looking.
Got it to Michael.
And it went in and out!
Hit the board and spun out,
and Indiana wins the game.
with the series tied at two,
fatigue was taking its toll on the Bulls.
And meanwhile, out west, the Utah Jazz
were rolling towards the finals.
Led by future Hall of Famers,
Karl Malone and John Stockton,
the Jazz dominated
the Western Conference Playoffs
and would have ten days rest
while the Bulls and Pacers
continued to battle in the East.
The Bulls lost another game,
and would have to go the full seven
in a series for the first time in years.
By the end of Game 6, doubters were saying
that Michael was finally running on empty.
Bulls trail by two. Here we go!
MJ one-on-one with McKey.
Michael a drive, tripped off his feet,
and McKey stole the ball,
and that's gonna do it.
That will do it. Indianas gonna win it.
He may have been devastated that night,
and l assume he was,
but he had the ability to believe
that we were going to win
and he was going to do well.
Probably one of the most remarkable shots
that everybody remembers
is the shot he made against Cleveland.
The inbounds pass comes in to Jordan.
Here's Michael at the foul line.
A shot on Ehlo.
Good! The Bulls win! They win it!
But they don't remember
that the night before,
he missed three out of six foul shots
that would have sealed the game for us,
and we wouldn't have had
to go to the fifth game.
A normal player would have said,
"l cost us this opportunity"
and probably beat themselves up over it.
Michael, the next day
that we played Cleveland,
got on the bus and said, "Have no fear.
"We're going to win this ball game."
lf we sit here and worry about
what people think of us,
then we don't have a chance.
They still got to come through Chicago.
Utah, Indiana, they still
got to come through Chicago.
l don't care what happens today,
don't care what happened
in the other series.
They still got to come through Chicago.
We will win Game 7.
Indiana, the ball... Michael, a steal!
MJ on the run, he will dunk the ball.
Michael was facing the ultimate elimination.
Lose, and end his career on a note of defeat.
Despite Michael's promises,
the Pacers led by 13 points early on.
Then Michael led the Bulls
on a furious rally.
Circles, he's loose, driving
and dunks the ball, and a foul!
It was the kind of run that had led the Bulls
to their five previous championships.
But there was still
a half of basketball to play.
Here we were in the conference finals.
In the seventh game, we were down
going into the fourth quarter.
And l thought, "Maybe this is it,
maybe we've had the last hurrah."
But something rose up in these players,
led by our hero.
He's the type of man that could get you
to jump off a bridge,
or at least think about it for a few seconds.
He has such a will to accomplish a mission
that everyone follows him.
Michael back to the top
and now the switch made back by McKey.
Michael to the lane, jumped out to Luc.
Seventeen footer, bang!
Down the well it goes.
MJ on the run, to Kerr for three. Good!
MJ. Fall-away jumper shot is good!
And a foul!
They may have had tired legs,
but Michael and the Bulls grew stronger
in the game's final minutes.
Bulls win, 88-83. They go to the finals again.
Michael, you're a tired man, aren't you?
Im exhausted. But that's what it took
to get to where we had to go.
l mean, everybody
had to leave it on the floor,
and there's no tomorrow, it's the last dance,
so we got to give everything we got.
You're rest... They're rested,
you guys are fatigued,
but l know you'll be ready to play
on Wednesday.
Our hearts are not fatigued.
That's the most important thing.
All right, Michael, great job.
Before making his final exit,
Michael had to take one more walk
through the spotlight.
lf you walk through a crowd with Jordan,
you see the same thing he sees,
you see all the eyes aiming in.
And l asked,
"What do you see in the crowd?"
And he said, "Sometimes,
I'll see a father and a son.
"They may not think Ive even noticed them,
but sometimes," Jordan will say,
"l wonder if they have any idea
how much I'd like to be them."
Last night we began the show
with the disappearance
of Michael Jordan's father.
Tonight, the worst fears have come true.
James Jordan was found dead,
the victim of an apparent murder.
When my father died, l had him for 32 years.
l was very lucky.
l looked at it as being lucky,
not as being disappointed
that he wasn't around anymore.
l was lucky that he was there
when l needed him,
that he could influence my life
to look at situations
that l use to help make
my decisions to this day.
Some kids never have that.
Sure, l would love to have him now,
but people are put on this earth for a reason,
and you utilize the time that you're here.
You never know when that's gonna be
taken away from you.
That's one thing he taught me.
But while he's here, or while they're here,
they should make an impact
on someone's life.
And he made an impact on my life.
You're going to get it, man.
That's for bringing me into this world.
After the third championship,
my father kept, kind of,
hinting towards me playing baseball.
"Stop playing basketball.
Why don't you give your baseball a shot?"
Because that's what he actually got me
started playing when l was six years old.
l played baseball.
And he felt that l could play baseball
and do it with the same
conviction and attitude
that l played basketball.
Every day, the first person there
before the sun
would be Jordan.
And he was there because he wasn't good.
He would work with a batting instructor
and work all day long
and be the last person to leave
every night also.
-Strike three! Money's no Stan Musial.
-But he's trying.
-Say, hey, he's no Willie Mays.
-But he's trying, man.
what it did teach me was,
don't be afraid to try.
The worst thing that can happen is
it doesn't pan out
the way that you envision it.
But at least you know that
by giving it a shot.
People were basically saying that l didn't
have no reason for being in the sport,
and l was degrading the sport.
When those negative things
started to happen, the only thing...
l wish my father was there to give me
the positive reinforcements that l needed.
l asked him what it was like
for him in the morning.
And Jordan said, "l get up
before the sun comes up,
"and l make myself
some breakfast, by myself."
He was down there alone.
"And l get in the car.
And Im driving to spring training,
"and there's no one, really,
out on the roads yet.
"And l look at the seat
next to me and l see my dad,
"and l talk to him.
"l think to myself, 'Pops, we're doing this.
"'We're doing this together."'
And the day would end,
and he would say to the batting instructor,
"Can we do a little more?
l think Im getting this.
"l think Im learning this,
l think Im getting this."
And that's when Sports Illustrated
put him on the cover,
saying that Michael Jordan
has embarrassed baseball.
And as l would watch him there every night
as the sun was going down
and the other ball players had left,
and l would see this guy
working to get better.
Michael Jordan working to get better.
l couldn't help thinking,
that if you ever have children,
you ought to pray
that they grow up someday
to embarrass you like this.
Michael Jordan... Its a fly ball.
l think that experience itself, kind of,
gave him a blessing
of coming back to basketball,
and understanding the gift that
he'd been given for this game
that was so special.
When Michael came back, and Jud and l
were driving down to the game,
and l said, "Jud, you know,
does Phil start Michael?
"l mean, he hasn't been here for,
you know, 60 games, 65 games."
And Jud looked at me and he said,
"Steve, as a general rule,
"when you have your own
statue outside the stadium,
"you don't come off the bench."
There'll be other great players,
there's no question about that.
But what he's done for the game,
l don't think anybody
will touch his greatness,
and that's why everybody's
holding on here in the finish
to just be a part of... lf this is the last run,
everybody wants to be a part of it
and witness it.
The Bulls had gone to the finals five times,
and five times they had won.
The fact that this might be
Michael's last chance
made these finals the most anticipated ever.
The Jazz had earned
the home court advantage
on the strength of their regular season.
And now, the world tuned in
to see if Michael could beat the odds
and win one last time.
Michael circles, spins, hangs, fires, scores.
In Game 1 , the Bulls took the Jazz
into overtime.
But in the end, fresher legs prevailed.
The previous year, although Utah had lost,
they had proven to themselves
that they could play with the Bulls,
and then they win Game 1 .
l thought Utah was going
to be the NBA champions.
When everybody, in some ways,
didn't expect me to win,
and the odds are stacked against you,
and for once in your life,
you are the underdog,
that was beautiful for me.
when he needed it most,
Michael didn't find comfort
in the championship banners
he helped raise,
but rather strength from the seven years
of defeat that came before.
It was a long road.
It kept me in the gyms in the summer,
working on my skills,
trying to be the best basketball player
l could become.
But at the same time,
to show players who were not
on the same level
with the same mental toughness
that if Im going to do this,
then you have to keep up with the pace.
And quietly, it started to turn.
He was your hardest worker.
He competed every day.
That filtered down through your team,
so as a coach,
you never had to talk about
the work ethic of your team
because your best player
always brought that.
Michael's standards were too high
for many of his early teammates,
but then came Scottie Pippen.
The influence of Michael on Scottie Pippen
was almost from day one.
Michael kind of helped him
get out there on the basketball court
and taught him some little things,
some of the small tricks that he'd use.
As a consequence, the two of them
really played well together.
It was The Lone Ranger and Tonto.
There's no doubt about it.
Pippen became a star in his own right.
And then there was the supporting cast
that Michael would challenge relentlessly,
knowing that they too had to be ready
when their moment came.
He understood the fact
that everybody had to share in the game,
and that he was willing to be part of this.
To sacrifice some of his own game for that
was the most important thing.
He comes off, Ill be ready.
Ive gotten a chance to play a lot,
and play a lot in big games.
And l felt the pressure, l think,
and didn't perform that well.
And l learned how to play with Michael
and how to hit big shots,
and how to relax myself
in situations like that.
Michael, in traffic, to Kerr.
-Fifteen footer.
What a great experience to go through,
not just for basketball,
but for the rest of my life,
to know that l can face something
that's pretty difficult and deal with it.
Back in Utah, the buzz was still
about the Jazz's series-opening victory.
But by the time Game 2 had begun,
Game 1 was history
to Michael and the Bulls.
lf Michael enjoyed being the underdog,
he never let his team feel like one,
by driving them forward
with the flair and confidence of a champion.
The Bulls won Game 2, and now the series
would move to Chicago, tied at one.
Id have to see someone beat
Michael Jordan four times,
because, l said, to do that,
you're going to have to dismember him.
You're going to have to take
an arm and a leg,
and you're going to have to drag him
off the floor. He's not going to go easily.
These would be Michael's last games
in Chicago,
and Game 3 played out
like a thank-you note to the fans.
Chicago's 96-54 win in Game 3
was the biggest rout in NBA Finals history.
The Bulls were two games away
from the title.
Pass the first time.
People have said a lot of things
about our physical tiredness,
but our mental toughness is there,
and l don't think
that should ever be overlooked.
-Okay, here we go.
-Okay, let's go!
After dominating Game 3,
the Bulls' physical resilience
would be tested in Game 4.
Scottie looks. Dumps it to Michael, MJ.
And turns base line.
Fall-away jumper, good!
Boy, what a rainbow that was!
Kukoc... Drop to Michael.
MJ spins along the base line,
goes up and scores.
And Kukoc looking, looking, looking.
Luc to Michael. He catches, two dribbles,
spins in, scoops and scores!
Another win for the Bulls.
The countdown to the championship
had reached one.
Three-one! Do you still feel like
you guys are the underdogs?
No, we're in the driver's seat right now,
and we just have to come out ready
to play next game
and try to put it away.
Before Game 5,
the celebration had already begun.
Can l ask you,
how big does that look on IMAX?
Does that look like a gigantic bucket
of popcorn on an IMAX screen?
Its a whole mountain of it, folks.
All right, baby. Let's hear it.
Come on, man. Put everything on the court.
All for the heart,
and lay it out on the basketball court.
When we come out of the court,
we're all celebrating,
-and Joe's going to be happy.
-Let's go, baby.
Before there was anything
to really celebrate,
Karl Malone and the Jazz found an answer
to every move the Bulls made.
In Game 5, the Bulls came up empty,
and Michael walked out of the United Center
for the last time.
Back in Utah for practice the following day,
the defeat was already forgotten,
for here was another secret to the spell
Michael had held over the rest of the league
ever since his first championship.
Even when the Bulls
weren't superior physically,
they had a philosophical edge.
l think Phil had a lot to do with that
with his Zen practice,
his whole emotional approach
to a game of basketball.
Ive experienced a lot of different coaches,
but he gave me the understanding
about life in a whole different frame.
l think his teaching toward
the understanding of Zen Buddhism is
how you view yourself
to deal with the realities
of life surrounding you,
and somehow be able to correlate that
to a simple game as basketball.
This is something that we talked about
a lot as a basketball team,
is about how to be in the moment,
being able to visualize what
might happen in those times.
Michael so embraced this,
and l think that was the beauty of his game,
is that he had all these abilities to adjust,
not force his own predetermined idea,
but allow those things
to come together for his game.
l tend to be calm, things tend to slow down.
As l go into situations that
people don't know the outcome,
Ive already experienced them in my mind,
just playing tricks with myself.
So it didn't seem new to me
and l wasn't afraid to fail with it.
Once l began to understand that,
l became a master of the game of basketball.
Game 6 in Utah.
For the Bulls, a win would mean
a championship.
For Michael, it would mean
the cementing of his legacy.
Harp looking left, not there, backdoor lob.
Michael goes up and scores!
The Bulls were still feeling the effects
of Game 5,
as a bad back grounded Scottie Pippen.
Pippen knocked down
and he's struggling to get back up.
Sets a screen. Michael hangs in the air.
His jumper, good!
In Chicago, fans filled
Michael Jordan's restaurant,
and 23,000 of the faithful
filled the United Center.
Back in Utah,
Michael was operating on his own.
The celebrated teamwork of the Jazz
was clicking,
and Karl Malone and John Stockton
took charge of the game.
After a grueling post-season,
the Bulls could no longer match up
with the Jazz, man for man.
With a fourth-quarter lead,
the Utah crowd sensed victory
drawing closer with every basket.
For the Bulls, the last man standing
clawed his way back into the game.
Seven on the shot clock, six, five...
Now Michael's got to do it himself.
Jordan backing, backing, pumping,
falling, firing, scores!
And a foul! Oh, my!
Harper back outside.
Michael firing, sticks another three!
He had played
nearly every minute of the game,
and scored more than half
of his team's points.
But late in the fourth quarter,
Michael finally seemed
worn out by his efforts
and his shots faltered.
Hornacek running. Hornacek for three...
Got it!
Still Michael kept coming, kept shooting,
kept getting to the line,
kept the Bulls in the game.
You can do it! Four championships in a row!
It was as if everything
he had ever accomplished
had led Michael to this one moment.
And in the final minute of the game,
at the final minute of his career,
he would need everything
he had learned along the way.
Pippen looking, dump to Michael
near the time line.
MJ at Russell. Michael a drive,
and the lay-up is good!
A driving lay-up by Michael
draws the Bulls to within one. 86-85.
And now you got a chance for a stop here.
Dennis and Karl are going
to get down on the post,
and they're going to do all
their little necessary banging.
Myself, l focused on Karl.
Hornacek screens across.
Malone to the post.
While he's fighting with Dennis,
he basically forgets where the ball is,
and so l choose this opportune time
to make my steal,
and l came back to strip the ball away.
Malone stripped by Michael!
To the floor, stolen by MJ! Michael, a steal!
Sixteen seconds left. Bulls down one.
Crowd gets quiet.
The moment starts to become
the moment for me.
Once you get in the moment,
you know when you're there,
and when l saw the moment,
the opportunity to take advantage of it,
l never doubted myself,
knowing that this was going
to be the last opportunity
to either win the game or lose it.
Michael against Russell.
Eleven, ten... Jordan.
Jordan a drive, hangs, fires!
Scores! Bulls win the title!
The Bulls are the world champs again!
lf that's the last image of Michael Jordan,
how magnificent is it?
MJ! Oh, my God, that was beautiful.
What a finish!
-l had faith! l had faith!
-You bet you did. God bless you.
Sixth MVP this past season,
and a sixth MVP in the NBA Finals,
Michael Jordan!
Michael Jordan's legacy is authenticity.
lf you removed all the hype,
all the marketing, all the show-time glitz,
he would be as 100% genuine as anybody
who ever played in a gym or an armory,
anywhere, anytime.
There's never been a player
that's had that ability
that Michael Jordan's had
in the kind of way he did it,
in this game of basketball.
His legacy is, a newborn child,
ten years from now,
and a father says, "l wish you
could have seen Michael Jordan."
Thank you.
The dignity and grace with which
you conduct yourself off the court,
those are important things,
and l believe those are enduring things.
You figure there have been,
l don't know, 25,000 years.
l don't know how you do the math of that,
but that's like, out of all 50,000 top athletes,
since prehistoric times,
brontosauruses and pterodactyls included,
he's right there.
Ten years from now, 20 years from now,
what l hear people saying,
or l would want people to say,
and it's simple,
that if Michael Jordan was still
playing the game of basketball,
he would dominate.
No matter what happens
in this business of basketball,
if we didn't get paid a dime,
you still would play the game
of basketball somewhere.
Somewhere there's a kid working.
He won't skip any steps.
He will learn from my example,
just as l have learned from others.
There will be a player greater than me.