Only time will tell when we see our next live sporting event. Leadership is contemplating the feasibility of various options. Could the NBA complete its regular season and playoffs in Las Vegas? Would Major League Baseball salvage its campaign by playing games that count at Spring Training sites in Arizona and Florida? NFL and NCAA officials hold out hope that football season will commence at the usual time. But will fans be able to attend?
One thing that seems certain at this point. No one is sure of anything. So, for the time being, we whet our appetite with replays of classic games from the past, documentaries on legendary figures and even social media debates on topics such as who should be proclaimed the real G.O.A.T. in a sport.
Speaking of G.O.A.T., Michael Jordan is delivering once again – with the help of his Chicago Bulls teammates. ESPN’s early release of “The Last Dance,” a documentary miniseries focusing on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls’ NBA Championship run, has the sports world buzzing. The series includes film from a crew that received an all-access pass to that championship season, thanks to permission from Jordan and the Bulls.
The first 2 episodes of the 10-part series aired on Sunday, and will continue each week, concluding on May 17. “The Last Dance” began by outlining GM Jerry Krause’s inexplicable desire to break up this dynasty and the team’s disdain for him as a result. Also, we took a trip down memory lane as episodes 1 and 2, respectively, detailed the career journeys of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
This in-depth look at one of the best teams ever assembled comes at a perfect time. While we wait for the games to return, sports fans can sink their teeth into “The Last Dance” on a weekly basis. It goes beyond the Bulls’ numerous victories on the court and the organization’s path to 6 NBA championships in 8 seasons. This series promises to provide insight into behind the scenes rifts between players and management, and even tension that can exist between players on a day-to-day basis during the season. We will continue to hear from several NBA players and personalities.
And the headliner is a man who tends to receive most votes for the NBA’s “G.O.A.T. Michael Jordan recently expressed concern over public perception of him once this documentary is aired. Jordan was a charismatic ambassador who was often asked to speak on an array of topics beyond the game of basketball. His competitive fire and desire to win is on display in “The Last Dance” along with a rugged leadership style he employed to motivate teammates – which ultimately resulted in a tussle or two. But it was also the driving force behind one of the premier champions in team sports whose continued success transcends athletic performance.
MJ and his supporting cast of characters are tremendous. He is joined by sidekick Scottie Pippen, an underdog who ultimately became one of the NBA’s Top 50 Players Ever, who even had to fight his own employers for respect. There’s the eccentric, yet brilliant antics of the colorful Dennis Rodman, who will be a focus of episodes 3 and 4. Also, don’t forget important role players like the underrated Steve Kerr, who parlayed his career with Chicago into a highly successful stint as an analyst, executive and NBA head coach. And the inspiration behind it all was Phil Jackson, the Zen Master who molded these unique personalities together for a common goal.
These guys were rock stars in the 1990s. Whether you rooted for the Chicago Bulls or not, they had the attention of sports fans. That continued on Sunday.
ESPN reported an average of 6.1 million viewers during Episodes 1 and 2, its most watched documentary in history. How big is this? Well, former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton provided input in the first 2 episodes. Not bad.
And now, with America in need of a boost during some especially trying times in its history, MJ and The Chicago Bulls are stepping up one more time.
“The Last Dance” is just in time.