Knicks RJ Barrett Learning from Michael Jordan in 'The Last Dance'

John Healy
May 19, 2020 - 11:14 am

RJ Barrett never got to watch Michael Jordan play – he was born two years after Jordan’s final championship with the Bulls – but the Knicks guard has been “soaking it all in” watching “The Last Dance.”

Barrett appeared on Monday’s Sportscenter with Scott Van Pelt and explained what he has learned from watching the Jordan documentary.

“I grew up after all this happened,” he said, via The New York Post. “It’s cool to be able to listen to Mike speak and hear how he thinks. ‘Cause to me, he was kind of this machine. So to see how he came into a franchise and completely changed the culture, or his leadership abilities, his work ethic – I’m soaking it all in.”

Barrett, like Jordan was drafted third overall to a team that has long been searching for a winning culture. He showed potential his rookie season, averaging 14.3 points and five rebounds, but still has plenty of work to do.

His father, Rowan – a former St. John’s product – made his son watch Jordan highlights growing up, but the documentary has still provided a newfound admiration and respect of the Hall of Famer for Barrett.

“I guess I didn’t really understand Jordan as fully,” he asid. “I think I have a better picture now. Especially in that era – he had to go up against ‘The Bad Boys.’ They had ‘Jordan Rules.’ He had to go completely change his body. I’m not taking anything away from Kobe [Bryant] and LeBron [James], but he was kind of the first one to do it. He changed it to where a 2-guard is really a wing [and] what kind of helps you win championships.”

As for who the G.O.A.T. is, Barrett may have had his mind changed by the documentary.

“I’ve always been a LeBron fan. LeBron’s always been my favorite player growing up,” he said. “But just in terms of – I don’t really know the comparisons – but from what I’m seeing, it’s tough to say otherwise.”