“The Last Dance” is over. Reactions are still pouring in, and everyone is collecting their thoughts on Michael Jordan and his legacy. Here’s our take.
What’s your overall take on the documentary?
Stephen B: As someone who didn’t live through the peak years of Bulls’ success, I loved it. It reminded me of some great stories, but it also taught me some new stuff I didn’t know before. Given the fact MJ had final approval, it’s hard to assume all things being objectively accurate.
Harry V: Overall, I think it was an excellent documentary by ESPN, a job well done. A lovely reminder of the 90s Bulls, the greatest basketball team to ever lace ’em up.
Will S: I think The Last Dance gave us a tremendous overall walkthrough of some of the main events that happened with the Bulls franchise and specifically Michael Jordan that most of us probably forgot. Even though it was great to remember this team and everything that was surrounding them, I don’t think we really got as much of the behind the scenes stuff that I initially expected.
Murray A: This documentary series is an excellent testimony of the 1980s and 1990s Chicago Bulls led by the greatest athlete ever – Michael Jordan. I can’t stop thinking about how many great players and teams MJ played against.
Phil C: You can see MJ produced the doc – it made it feel like a 10-part promo. I expected a lot more “never seen before” footage and insight.
Did this change the way you think about MJ?
Will S: Not at all, the documentary actually gave a pretty good overview of Jordan, his mentality, desire to win, mindset, but also people understood why he was considered an asshole.
Stephen B: For me, it solidified him as the GOAT. It also humanized him in a way. I’ve always perceived him as a “superhuman.” Seeing him deal with the death of his father, constant media pressure, and everyday challenges of being a most-talked-about athlete in the world made him more of a relatable person in my eyes. In terms of looking at him differently after seeing the way he treated his teammates, no, it didn’t change the way I think about MJ.
Phil C: Yes, it did. I see him as a deeply unhappy man who chased his father’s approval at all costs. Let me put it like this – if my kid were like MJ, I’d consider myself a failure as a parent.
Murray A: Not so much. I saw him cry before. I saw him gamble before. That was him. The extent of the challenge of being his teammate was a bit surprising. I wonder how he still didn’t found his peace with the ‘Bad Boys’ after all those years. But, after all, there is no doubt in my mind that he is the Greatest Ever.
Harry V: Nope.
What’s your main criticism of the doc?
Harry V: Kukoč could have been highlighted more than Kerr, Wellington, Paxon, etc., as he was, in reality, a much bigger asset than portrayed in the doc. Check out the stats.
Phil C: It’s not a documentary. Ken Burns nailed it on the head.
Murray A: I expected more rare and exclusive footage from the practices, scrimmages, and the Bulls locker room. GM Jerry Krause deserved more respect, Toni Kukoč deserved more minutes.
Will S: I feel like we didn’t get enough behind the back scenes moments as I initially expected, and on top of that, I think some players didn’t get the respect and attention they deserved in the documentary, with Toni Kukoč being one of them.
Stephen B: There wasn’t enough exclusive behind the scenes footage. The whole documentary was hyped with promises of seeing stuff we’ve never seen before. In the end, it was more about retelling past events. I guess I expected it to be a little bit more controversial than it turned out.
What was the most memorable moment of the documentary?
Murray A: The inside testimony by strength and conditioning guru Tim Grover in Episode 8 on how Michael immediately rebounded after 1995 Bulls early exit from the Orlando Magic
Phil C: The sound of MJ crying on Father’s day.
Stephen B: Michael Jordan’s epic trash-talk to Larry Bird after their game seven win vs. Indiana in the Eastern Conference Finals in 1998. That was an epic unseen moment.
Harry V: Learning more about Jordan’s dad and seeing him get so emotional and personal on camera.
Will S: Every single crazy thing Dennis Rodman did and the fact that the Bulls indeed were The Beatles of the 90s
What is your favorite Jordan highlight from his career?
Phil C: ‘The Move,’ Game 2 in ’91
Will S: There are too many of them to remember, but I would have to say the last few possessions against the Jazz in 1998 when he made crucial plays on both ends of the floor to seal the win and his sixth championship.
Harry V: His 63pt game on the Celtics vs. prime Bird & Co.
Stephen B: It would have to be the last minute he played for the Bulls, being the only Bull to touch the ball in the last 45 seconds of the game and capping it off with a movie-like game-winner.
Murray A: ‘The Move’ from Game 2 of 1991 NBA finals
What NBA topic would be your pick for a 10-part documentary?
Will S: The internationalization of the NBA sounds like a good topic because it took some time, and now we have almost 30 percent of players in the league that are not American. I believe there is a good basis to talk about this and how it helped the game of basketball in general.
Stephen B: The Legend of Late Great Kobe Bryant. His personal and professional life had enough ups and downs for it to be exciting and controversial enough. He was very similar to Jordan, to the point it would be interesting to compare stories about them both. (With more behind the scenes footage.)
Harry V: I would love to see a documentary on the ten best teams that never managed to win a Chip, one episode per team.
Murray A: Top 9 European NBA players ever (9 episodes – Petrović, Marčiulionis, Divac, Kukoč, Rađa, Sabonis, Stojaković, Nowitzki, Gasol…) and an additional episode about the players who might have been NBA stars but decided to stay overseas (Belov, Ćosić, Galis, Schmidt, Bodiroga…).
Phil C: How the hell did we get to a point where players travel and carry the ball like there’s no tomorrow? I need answers.