One would have to be hard-pressed to ever think that the demand for a sports documentary would be so high that the presentation schedule would be moved up by two months…But it happened.
The demand for the series shows how desperate sports fans have been for any topic that is different than talk surrounding isolation, COVID-19, the economy, or wondering how ‘The Tiger King’ has entered into the annals of great entertainment in the 21st century. For sports nerds who have been living in sweats and deep depression for the last month, the pushed-up release of ‘The Last Dance”, is feeding the desperate need for content, and they have definitely found some aid.
‘The Last Dance’ is a 10 part series that details the ground-zero rise of Michael Jordan. From Jordan’s childhood roots, the Bulls’ dire circumstances before his arrival and how the team was built after drafting him in 1984, to the struggles that eventually led to the team’s first NBA championship, the story will deliver through the Bulls’ first five championships. Yet, the box of jewels found in the series will be footage from the 1997/98 season, which has never been seen before publicly. In the fall of 1997, Jordan, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and head coach Phil Jackson agreed to let an NBA Entertainment film crew follow the team all season long. We finally get to see the footage.
It hasn’t been a secret that the footage which has been sitting idle since the end of the 1998 season wasn’t released in a special format because the footage wasn’t intertwined with a story. There have always been swirling rumors centered around the season-long footage that the reason why a documentary wasn’t developed was due to the sole reason of a lack of story.
Jason Hehir who is the director of the ’85 Bears 30 for 30 documentary pulled the story together extremely well. From this Chicago Tribune interview, he’s on right on point. When a story has been told and covered as much as Michael Jordan and the Bulls dynasty, the attention and ‘wow’ moments have to be pulled from the details, reactions, and expressions from the interviews themselves. If the interviews give off the same effects that Steve McMichael, Richard Dent, and Jim McMahon gave in ’85 Bears’, viewers will have a fun ride and many rewatches should occur in man caves and indented couches around the world for the next decade. .
What will be interesting to watch is how they develop GM Jerry ‘Crumbs’ Krause and Jerry Reinsdorf as the villains.
The reviews have mentioned a very awkward moment when ‘Crumbs’ Krause is hooted down during a post-game celebration. For all of the Krause-Heads that are out there who will whine how Krause was the underlying genius behind the team and never received his due. The facts are real that Krause groveled to get respect and love from a team and two newspaper town in a major media market, and it’s fair to say that he never knew his place. If they do take the route and emphasize the villainous Krause/Jerry Reinsdorf storyline…It’s deserved. (Ed Note: Krause Heads: Any debate on his HOF selection is welcomed here.)
Krause may not be the 100% villain that he was for end of the Bulls dynasty, but 85-95% is a good range to put a figure upon for blame. Of course, it didn’t help any cause when Jerry Reinsdorf over-emphasized the importance of ‘one man’ in the post-game floor speech after the 1996 NBA Final. If you watch the replay, the whole arena seems shocked, the players pause, and even Bob Costas is taken back by the statement. If there was a too early last call made at 1:30AM, Reinsdorf’s speech may have been it…really, really, really stupid move by Reinsdorf at the time. It would be cool if they include that speech in the storyline.
The listicles and crazy debates that have emerged over the past decade have definitely smeared and unfortunately seem to create a lot of fog when comparing greats, legacies, and eras.It’s very easy to see the fact that Jordan pushed the completion and organized several interviews to complete the project. The series certainly gives a fresh repaving of the surrounding paths of his legacy. No, the Jordan-era Bulls probably wouldn’t have won 8 titles in a row to compare with Bill Russell and the ’60s Celtics, but there has never been a team that had the media pressures, demands, expectations found in a major media market placed upon them much less the hype and attention surrounding their main leader who was driven to perfection. Take it for what it was. It was great dynasty. Jordan is the ‘Babe Ruth of the NBA and basketball. He and the Bulls teams deserve a solid documentary that can stand the test of time.
Fair Questions: I’m watching the replay of the ’96 Grant Park Championship celebration with the ‘Da Bulls guys, Rodman dancers, Luvabulls, and the player speeches…what a circus. Will we ever have a celebration of 1 million plus people in Grant Park ever again? Not just for the Bulls, but we’ll we ever see that many people congregated again? And whoever gave Dennis Rodman the Cook County Sheriff shirt gets mad respect.