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Monday March 8th

UNC's Brandon Robinson talks 'The Last Dance,' Roy Williams and postgrad plans

UNC's senior guard Brandon Robinson (4) looks to pass the ball past Boston College's freshman guard Julian Rishwain (2) during a game against Boston College in the Smith Center on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. UNC fell to Boston College by just one point in the last minutes of the game, making the final score 71-70.
Buy Photos "The first time I saw him was my freshman year," Robinson said. "I turned and I looked at my dad and I was like 'Man, that's MJ right there!'"

Senior writer Ryan Wilcox caught up with Brandon Robinson, who just finished his senior season with UNC men's basketball, to talk "The Last Dance" — ESPN's 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls — and more. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

DTH: I want to ask you about "The Last Dance," but first: what are you up to these days?

Brandon Robinson: Just been working out, trying to stay active. Trying to stay ready for when that time comes and things resume. I don't want to have to rush to get ready, so I've just been putting in work and waiting for opportunities to keep playing basketball.

DTH: Are you looking to stay here or play overseas?

BR: I'm just looking for the best opportunity and the best situation for me. I'm open to anything. This is gonna be my living now, so just the best situation where I can be successful and take care of myself.

DTH: Good luck. Talking about "The Last Dance," what's the number one thing you learned or surprised you while you were watching?

BR: I don't know, man. There's so many things. I've heard Michael Jordan stories through my dad and his friends and all my coaches. To hear from them, it's easy to see that his mentality and the way he approached the game each and every day was just different from anyone we've seen in basketball today. It's just crazy. The closest thing I've ever seen [to that] is Kobe Bryant, but Kobe Bryant learned everything from Michael Jordan.

DTH: I was gonna ask you about that, because I know you're a big Kobe guy. What was that moment like in the documentary where the two meet in the hallway, and MJ's talking about him afterwards in the locker room?

BR: For me, it was just kind of sad. That reality set in again that he's not here. It was interesting to see how Kobe modeled everything after Michael Jordan. I just can't wait until one day Kobe has his own documentary. But it was cool just to see how Kobe leaned on Michael Jordan to make him the player that he was.

DTH: Have you met MJ before?

BR: I haven't really met him, but I've seen him. He's not allowed to talk to us because he's the owner of an NBA team [the Charlotte Hornets]. The first time I saw him, my freshman year, I remember it was after the game, we played Duke. I turned and I looked at my dad and I was like, "Man, that's MJ right there!"

DTH: What's something that Roy Williams has told you guys about MJ that maybe someone wouldn't know or wouldn't expect?

BR: I was joking with my teammates, when Coach Williams did his piece in the documentary, everybody said we already knew what he was gonna say. We hear that same spiel every time. He always says, "Michael Jordan's the only person who could turn it on and off, and he never turned it off." I could vividly remember him saying everything he said in that documentary. We could've went on that documentary and told everybody what he was gonna say.

DTH: What do you think of MJ's leadership style? Obviously it rubbed some people the wrong way, but you also can't argue with the results.

BR: I think people blew it out of proportion. Basketball's a competitive sport with a lot of emotions. I feel like he knew which guys he could say certain things to, which guys he could push. And he did it all for a reason, to reach that ultimate goal of winning. There's some people who lead just like Michael Jordan, but [people don't know about it]. I've been a part of teams where people have talked like Michael Jordan to me or my teammates. You don't take it personal because you know that they all have a common goal. People who really play sports and are competitive in their sport know things like that happen.

DTH: You and Garrison Brooks were the veterans on this past year's team. Was it one of y'all that was the guy who would have to get on teammates, and felt like it was their responsibility to get everybody in line?

BR: Me and Garrison aren't the MJ personality type, but I felt like we led in our own way. Garrison was more of a guy who would hold the bigs accountable, and I would do my best to hold the guards accountable. Sometimes if I was lacking, Garrison would say something to me, or I would say something to him. Cole did a good job helping me out with the guards, too. Garrison was a good leader for the bigs and I think he's gonna do a great job of leading the guys next year.

DTH: Have you gone back and watched any old MJ games since the documentary?

BR: Even before the documentary, one day me and my dad were sitting in the house flipping through the TV. We went to NBA TV and we watched [Jordan's 55-point "double nickel" against the Knicks]. The whole time, I'm just laughing, because I see [Hubert Davis, UNC assistant coach and former Knicks guard] out there. I also watched the [1998] All-Star Game. The amount of talent on that floor was really good.

DTH: Are you a LeBron guy or an MJ guy?

BR: I'm gonna have to go MJ. I think LeBron still has some more work to do — well, not necessarily more work to do, but his career isn't finished yet. I also feel like it's not safe to really compare those guys because they never got a chance to go against each other. Sometimes in the basketball world we debate so many players and we don't take time to really evaluate their greatness and the uniqueness in each player's game. But if I had to pick between MJ and LeBron, I'm gonna go MJ.

DTH: Last question: if the Bulls stayed together, would they have won their seventh title in 1999?

BR: I feel like they should have had the right to, like [Jordan] said, defend their title, you know what I'm saying? They should have had that chance. But to answer your question, I think they would have won seven. Michael Jordan was just so different. His mentality and his will to win — I think it could've willed them to another championship.


@DTHSports |

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