As a California native, there weren't many chances for Aaron Rodgers to attend Chicago Bulls' games growing up.
And, of course, by the time he finally lived within a couple hours of the "Windy City," the chance to see one of his childhood inspirations had long past.
As you'd probably expect, though, the Green Bay Packers great still found himself enamored, like most kids who had a passion for sports in the 1990's, by one iconic figure whose reach transcended nearly every boundary: Michael Jordan.
Thanks to the mega-popular ESPN documentary, "The Last Dance," MJ's already prominent name has seen a resurgence in prominence over the last month. So much so that Rodgers was asked during a conference call on Friday to share his thoughts on the doc and the man himself ahead of its May 17 finale. Much like the rest of the world, Rodgers has been a dedicated viewer.
"Yeah for sure. I have been watching. It's been a lot of fun. I was fortunate enough in 1998 to sit in the top row at Arco Arena and watch MJ's last game as a Bull in the regular season against the Sacramento Kings, and was always an MJ fan since the early 90's and loved the runs that he was on and always looked up to him," Rodgers told reporters. In case you were wondering, MJ's Bulls won that game, 103-88.
As his own star has risen since being drafted 24th overall in 2005, Rodgers has had the opportunity to meet many people, among them being the NBA legend. He mentioned on the call that their mutual love of golf has allowed them to forge a bond. He also noted that Jordan invited him to play in Las Vegas a few times and that the two played several times at Lake Tahoe.
"I've gotten to know him a little bit over the years and always enjoy our interactions and have a ton of respect for what he accomplished in the game. He's the greatest basketball player of all-time. Really I'd love to debate anybody on that," he said.
In addition to Jordan, Rodgers added that he's gotten to know several members of those 90's Bulls teams, including Steve Kerr, Jud Buechler and, of course, the "Robin" to Jordan's "Batman," Scottie Pippen, whom he said he met at his golf tournament last year.
Interestingly, Rodgers didn't say whether he's met the third part of Chicago's "Big Three" but that player did pique his curiosity.
"I'm not quite sure, though, who the Dennis Rodman of our team is but I really did enjoy that part of the doc as well," he joked shortly before saying he'd probably nominate offensive tackle David Bahktiari to that role. Good choice, A-Rod.
Similar to MJ, Rodgers is known as a no-nonsense type of player who is all about his business when the whistle blows. Jordan's brand of leadership, featured throughout the doc, has been one of the many things that has stood out. For Rodgers, a man entering his 16th NFL season in 2020, it's been nothing short of inspiring to watch.
"Obviously, he's one of the most driven athletes of all-time and he's impacted so many guys over the years. Incredible players like Kobe Bryant, obviously that was a big part in it, but even guys like myself," he said. "Seeing his approach to the game, his leadership style, how he demands the most out of himself and his teammates. I definitely resonate with a lot of the things that he says."
At 36, Rodgers is inching closer to his own "last dance" but, as last year's trip to the NFC Championship game proved, he still knows how to win. And as his illustrious career winds down, it'll be fascinating to see if he's able to add more accolades to his trophy case. Just like Mike.