The first Australian to get drafted in an American NBA team was sensationally left out of Netflix hit The Last Dance that chronicled the all-conquering team’s success – and Longley now sees it as a good thing.
Australian fans expecting an insight into Jordan’s relationship with Longley, a key member of the Bulls’ championship-winning teams of 1996, 1997 and 1998, were left sorely disappointed when the show was released in 2020.
The seven-foot-tall centre from Fremantle’s notable absence from the show led to a local backlash and an ABC two-part documentary on Longley that has now been seen by millions of viewers.
Longley, who’s iconic Chicago Bulls No. 13 jersey is being reissued by Mitchell and Ness this week, is proud of the renewed interest in his career.
Longley was a key member of the Bulls’ championship-winning teams of 1996, 1997 and 1998
‘This didn’t happen – they were all Jordan, [Scott] Pippen and [Dennis] Rodman [jerseys]- there were Longley jerseys but never a display or a shop window like this,’ Longley told the Herald from the launch on Saturday.
‘I wish my kids could see this.
‘When we were in the middle of it, it was just part of the landscape of being a Bull. I didn’t take it for granted, but I didn’t feel the same level of pride in it as I do now for whatever reason.
‘Thank you for leaving me out of the Netflix doco because this wouldn’t have happened if they had put me in it.
‘There was all the discussion around it, then the Australian Story created interest and suddenly, we have Longley jerseys – it’s wild how the world turns isn’t it?’
Longley says he’s getting stopped by NBA fans more than ever since the Netflix saga.
‘So much more – my pedestrian experience is completely different as I will go to get my bags off the carousel or whatever and it’s selfies with people because they have seen me with my beard and the extra kilos,’ Longley said.
Longley is now grateful the hit Netflix series The Last Dance left him out, as it has created a new interest in his career
Longley’s iconic Chicago Bulls No. 13 jersey is being reissued by Mitchell and Ness this week
‘I don’t know what you call it. A midlife renaissance? It’s just cool that era and my contribution is being remembered.’
Jordan has since stated that Longley should have featured in the acclaimed documentary.
The Last Dance Producers previously explained it was too expensive to send a crew to Longley’s home on the south coast of Western Australia to interview him.
Despite this, Longley said he had a theory why he didn’t feature more heavily in the acclaimed production.
‘The self-deprecating Australian in me thinks it’s because I’m not that exciting,’ he said. ‘I was playing a huge role but it wasn’t one that was that sexy.
‘There were so many beautiful, bright, shiny stars out there to focus on, that, you know, it makes sense to me that that story wasn’t about me.’
Today Longley, 54, is a special assistant to the Sydney Kings in Australia’s NBL and also helps out with Australia’s national team, the Boomers.
Away from basketball he lives with his wife, on a property 400 kilometres south of Perth at Denmark. Both have two children from previous marriages.