Well, good people, we had our final dance of the 10-part documentary “The Last Dance” last night and what a dance it was. It lived up and surpassed the hype leading up to its early release. For the last five Sunday evenings, we’ve been treated to an intimate inside look into Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the ’90s. Did it leave you wanting more? I know it did for me, it could’ve been 10-20 more and I’m here for it.
The timing of this documentary also added to the aura of Jordan. In typical MJ fashion the light is shining brightest on him like there are 1.1 seconds left in the game, he has the final shot, and the entire world is holding its breath. Same as his first retirement announcement in ‘93 on a Wednesday morning or his first game back in ‘95. What better time to have this series air than during a global pandemic with sports halted and the world salivating for any sports content? Enter Michael Jordan.
Final Dance of The Last Dance
We know the documentaries main focus was Jordan but it’s about the team as well. Chicago definitely had the supporting cast that helped with the six championships Mike led them to. The show did a great job highlighting the diverse characters of the team. It revealed things about some players even die-hard fans didn’t even know. We knew about the star power of arguably the greatest number-two player in history Scottie Pippen and the best rebounder in league history Dennis Rodman aka the Worm. Pippen was also the only other Bull that was with the organization for all six championships so his role was vitally important to the team’s success.
Their backstories were the intriguing part, Scottie coming from very humble beginnings and his fractured relationship with the general manager the late Jerry Krause. The biggest takeaway was that Pip also is probably the most grossly underpaid superstar ever. Rodman was that wild card, the rockstar of the team. His off the court life was legendary within itself! He leaves the team during the season for a 72-hour whirlwind weekend in Las Vegas with Carmen Electra and gets back to play with no problem. If that’s not crazy enough how about right after a finals game getting on a private plane to appear on WCW Nitro and missing practice the next day. Things that NBA players wouldn’t think about doing today.
Steve Kerr was another player that played a key role, hitting big shots (see Game 7 of the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers). His career-defining shot though came in the ‘97 Finals Game 6 when he hit the game-winner to give the Bulls their fifth title, this one over the Utah Jazz. Besides these great moments, Kerr surprisingly was the teammate that could most relate to Jordan with tragedy. Both men’s fathers were murdered. Per Kerr’s account they never spoke about it. But that was their silent connection.
The Jordan brand was birthed back in 1985 when Nike first introduced the Air Jordan. At the time nobody knew it but a trail was blazed. Countless other endorsements derived from MJ’s game. Gatorade, Chevrolet, Hanes. Just like the NBA, anything that was associated with the Jordan name turned to gold. Pre-Jordan, the NBA was in 80 countries. When he retired it was over 200. Not to mention the Chicago Bulls 90’s teams are considered the creme de la creme of NBA franchises.
The success of Jordan has allowed the players of today to be some of the highest-paid athletes in sports. Even guys that sit at the end of the bench averaging about seven minutes a game got it made. It’s also allowed the likes of Lebron James and Steph Curry to be their own brand. There’s no doubt Jordan was the force that started the power change from the owners to the players.
Last Impression of the Dance
Going into the Last Dance docuseries, most people considered Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball player of all time. A recent AP poll has him ranked as the most popular athlete in America, even after being retired for 17 years. After watching it I think it proved he’s head above shoulders of his NBA peers. That’s no knock on the other greats, it’s just that MJ carved out a section in history where only he can stand.
He’s the epitome of taking your skill and sculpting greatness from it. There also was the example of sacrifice. To be successful in any endeavor it takes sacrifice and putting your all into that you wish to succeed in. One of the most profound things that I heard Mike say was at the end of the last episode. That all you need is “hope” to spark that fire within you.