The sports world is moments away from experiencing the first newly televised sports content in months. And there truly isn’t a better reintroduction to sports than the revelation of a secret documentary detailing the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan’s last championship season.
During the 1997-98 season, ESPN was granted total access to Head Coach Phil Jackson’s sanctified locker room and beyond. The trailer promises an unfiltered perspective into one of the greatest sports dynasties of all-time and unseen interviews from a wide variety of people including the late-great superstar Kobe Bryant, Justin Timberlake, Michael Wilbon, and even Carmen Electra.
The 6-time NBA Champion will be on full display for five weeks straight (ESPN is airing two back-to-back episodes each Sunday at 9 PM ET). When it’s all said and done, the worldwide leader in sports’ magnifying glass will total 10 hours of footage that will fully reveal Jordan’s last season of greatness.
For the first time ever, we’re going to see exactly how Jordan behaved behind the scenes. How he treated his teammates, how he prepared for games, what he talked about with Phil Jackson aside from basketball, and in summation; what he was like when he was doing his job. A job that he was better at than everybody else in the world.
Earlier this week, Michael Jordan himself said that people will think of him as an asshole after their viewing of The Last Dance. It’s widely known that MJ was an ultra-competitive alpha male who would go to any number of lengths to win, including the mental demolition of his opponents and even his own teammates. This legendary competitiveness, which is what has made Jordan such a worshipped figure in not just sports but culture as a whole, will be both discomforting at times and inspiring at others.
I'll be here each following Monday to document my experience with The Last Dance, both as a casual observer and as a proud “LeBron James is the GOAT” supporter. Only time will tell if my argument and opinion in that arena will be influenced and if I’ll lean towards the common opinion that Michael Jordan is, in fact, the greatest basketball player of all-time.
One thing to look for in the first two episodes: Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen is the most underrated superstar and the most overqualified second option in the history of the NBA. He was a Top 5 player in the NBA from 1990-1998. During Michael’s two year sabbatical with minor league baseball, Pippen carried the Bulls to the playoffs and even reached the Eastern Conference Finals as their primary option.
Pippen had nearly the exact same toolbox that Jordan did: primal defensive instincts, long arms, huge hands, godly athleticism, a tight handle, and an knack for getting buckets. One of Scottie’s most overlooked attributes was his innate passing ability. LeBron James is far more similar to Pippen than he is MJ in this regard (a pretty good passer in his own right) because Pippen was a forward who often initiated the offense for Chicago.
He was far ahead of his time and the Chicago Bulls dynasty wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for Scottie Pippen’s role as Jordan’s overqualified sidekick.