Last year when the first wave of COVID-19 hit the world, and the whole population had to stay indoors for quite a while, Netflix and ESPN decided to bless us and ease our time by releasing the highly anticipated documentary about Michael Jordan, his career, and the infamous Chicago Bulls teams of the ’80s and ’90s named “The Last Dance.” It was the perfect opportunity for us old-schools fans to reminisce on the good times and see some unseen details about that era, while younger fans got a deep and insightful look into why Michael Jordan is considered the GOAT.
The documentary was a huge hit, with people that aren’t even basketball fans tuning in to watch all the episodes, just to see what MJ was all about. But even though the series was an overall success, it got some criticism from some of the stars of the show. Jordan’s right-hand man Scottie Pippen didn’t like his portrayal, causing a total fallout between the two legends. Also, many fans wondered why Toni Kukoč got so little attention, even though he was possibly the most important team member after MJ and Scottie.
But one of the overlooked players that really didn’t get any mention in the documentary was Luc Longley. The Australian center played for four seasons with the Bulls from 1994 till 1998, serving as the starting center and valuable piece of the second three-peat. He wasn’t the most skilled center, but Longley knew his role, attacking the boards, setting screens for guys, and protecting the paint. All the dirty work went unnoticed, even though it is crucial for every basketball team.
The director of the series, Jason Hehir, touched on Longley’s absence from the documentary, saying it was more logistical and financial. Longley is living in his home country of Australia, and sending a crew down there to interview just him wasn’t something he felt was worth the money. But the star of the doc, Michael Jordan, knew Longley’s value to those teams and disliked the exclusion of his center, as he pointed out that would be the first thing he would change about the documentary.
“I can understand why Australia would say, ‘Well, why wouldn’t we include Luc?‘ And we probably should have. And if I look back and could change anything, that’s probably what I would have changed.”Michael Jordan, ABC News
Obviously, it is hard to give everyone their roses, considering how many contributors those Bulls teams had through the years. Still, MJ himself admitted Longley should have gotten mentioned much more in the series. Steve Kerr, who was one of the main features in the documentary himself, said Kukoč and Longnley should have gotten more air time than him. Maybe Longley didn’t get the focus he deserved, but at least all his teammates know and acknowledge how valuable he was, as that surely means much more to him.
But Longley will have the opportunity to tell his story, as he just launched his own two-part documentary named the “Australian Story” to familiarize the kids in Australia and the world with his journey in the NBA, featuring interviews with his former teammates, most notably Michael Jordan himself. Another must-watch for all basketball junkies.