Suit up, and dive into the story of one of sports most polarizing teams. As we finally get a peek under the curtain of footage that has been locked away for over 20 years. Michael Jordan has allowed the world to see and behold what truly went on during his last season with the Bulls and his quest to championship number 6.
At the time, Michael Jordan was bigger than the game of basketball, hell he still is today. There weren’t many sports figures like him during the historic Bull’s run of the 1990s. Babe Ruth and Mohamad Ali were the only two people in sports that were attributed as being some of the best athletes the world had ever seen. So the ongoing debate about “who is the greatest player ever” has heated up this last decade no thanks to LeBron James and his historic run. One thing is certain this footage was to never see the light of day, until 2016 when LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors in the unforgettable come from behind 3 games to 1 series. That’s when MJ got on his Batphone and made a phone call to release this stuff to simply remind the world that he was a bad man back in his day too.
So ESPN decided to treat the world to a 10 part documentary that showed the very highs and the lowest of lows during the Bulls memorable run. It all started in 1984 when the Bulls made the 3rd selection in the NBA Draft, and we all know what happened next. MVPS, scoring titles, turmoil, but most importantly 6 championships in 8 years. What most people don’t remember about Michael Jordan’s career is all the bumps and bruises in his first 7 years in the league. He wasn’t an instant success with the Bulls, individually of course, but in terms of winning, that took a long time. He had to overcome the Celtics and the Pistons of the ’80s, along with a broken foot in his second year in the league. MJ had a ton to overcome, his teams were overmatched, he was weak and was bullied. So what do all good winners do? They bust their ass until they overcome anything that stands in their path. Whether that was building muscle to get past the Pistons that helped elevate the Bulls to their first 3-peat. Jordan knew that in order to overcome certain aspects of his game, he would need to work harder than anyone had before him. He was at his core, a winner, and would do anything to achieve that. His teammates didn’t understand this at times, and it would cause rifts and sometimes would even lead to physical altercations. But that’s what builds character and builds a team, Jordan wanted to win more than anyone, but he also wanted his team to win. By doing whatever he could to make that happened was sometimes seen as selfish play by others, but in all reality, it was the only way he knew how to win and how to ultimately become champion.
Each episode is unique in its own way. Highlighting certain players, coaches, seasons, and adversaries. Whether it was his main man, Scottie Pippen, or the outrageous Dennis Rodman. The two biggest foes in MJ’s entire career, his owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, and his General Manager, Jerry Krause. Without question one of the most appealing aspects of this entire series, was the back and forth and his relationships with the people that were running the Chicago Bulls. I can put it lightly when I say, MJ and those two men certainly did not see eye-to-eye or even really get along for that matter. It’s hard to do when you’re dealing with someone who is bigger than basketball, and someone who thinks they know what’s best for the team more than the people running it. Listen, we can fathom what it would be like to be in their shoes, but after seeing everything transpired and how the Bulls reign eventually ended, it’s difficult to understand why things had to end the way they did. MJ butted heads with almost everyone in his path, Horace Grant in particular, who helped MJ win his first 3 titles. He was super unhappy with everything in the documentary and I don’t blame him.
The Bulls run seem to end quicker than it began. Just like that, after MJ’s final shot as a Bull, which gave them a 1 point lead over the Jazz in the 98′ Finals which would seal the deal on their 6th title. It seemed like overnight Phil Jackson, the greatest coach in the game, MJ, Scottie and Rodman were all out the door. In the blink of an eye the Bulls went from hero to zero Before this, the documentary captures so many magical moments that can be viewed as propaganda in some aspect. All this MJ love, with very little blowback. No one is ever really criticizing him throughout the doc and I feel like a lot of his teammates had a lot more to say than they were allowed to. The one big flaw, it doesn’t really go into greater detail about MJ’s flaws. They show his battle with gambling, and how he would push his teammates, but after the conclusion, players were on record saying they were unhappy how they were portrayed. Meanwhile MJ is painted as this all-around hero. They really needed to showcase just how he behaved just not on the court but off it as well. It’s a hard thing to accomplish when he’s the main attraction of your documentary.
Overall, The Last Dance is a masterpiece, it was like traveling back in time, when the NBA was a different game. Before the age of social media, where players expressed themselves in a more human way, that captures the soul of the ’90s. This was the best sports documentary since OJ: Made in America, and it will be something that is hard to top. MJ transcended sports, he still is all around us today. His shoes, the fact that he now owns the Hornets, and probably still thinks he could take the majority of players in a one on one. In the meantime, the NBA community will still battle on for who is the greatest basketball player of all time. One thing is certain, the LeBron James doc will be out of this world good now.
The Last Dance = 90/100