LONDON. — Thierry Henry has been labelled football’s answer to Michael Jordan by ex-Arsenal teammate Carlos Vela.
Basketball legend Jordan and his alpha-male personality has been the subject of huge debate amid the 10-part Netflix docuseries “The Last Dance”.
It focuses on MJ’s journey to becoming a six-time NBA champion, looking in particular at his final season with the Chicago Bulls in 1997-98.
But much of the focus, and some criticism, has circled around Jordan’s leadership, how he dominated some teammates, and allegations he pushed teammates too hard.
“When people see this they are going say, ‘Well he wasn’t really a nice guy. He may have been a tyrant’,” Jordan said.
“Well, that’s you. Because you never won anything.
“I wanted to win, but I wanted them to win to be a part of that as well. Look, I don’t have to do this. I am only doing it because it is who I am.
“That’s how I played the game. That was my mentality. If you don’t want to play that way, don’t play that way.”
And Jordan’s steely mentality reminds Vela of Henry’s intense approach to training.
The Mexican forward never played alongside each Henry due to Vela being loaned out to Spanish clubs before Henry left north London in 2007.
But the Los Angeles FC captain, who is a major NBA fan, sees similarities between how Jordan and Henry led those around them.
“Thierry Henry was a really hard guy,” said Vela.
“He tried every day to be the best and he pushed the young guys to work more, to be professional, to try to bring everything to every training.
“He would say, ‘if you train hard, you can play hard’.
“Thierry Henry was an inspiration to me and you can see the career he had.
“I’m proud to have said I can play with him. He’s a good leader.”
Vela and Henry now feature in separate Conferences in the MLS, with the Mexico star playing in the western division and Henry in the dugout for eastern side Montreal Impact. — The Mirror.