• phil cantor/@osgphil

The Last Dance is a Good Documentary but Hardly Just Michael Jordan's Story



Yes, like many of you, I've been watching "The Last Dance" documentary on ESPN and have been thoroughly enjoyed it. It's fascinating to see the amount of access the cameras had back in the day and even more fascinating it took so long for these stories to come to light.


A lot of my friends of a certain age seem to feel as though it is a "Michael Jordan" documentary. It clearly is not. Which is fine, I have no problem with that, but it's been promoted---dare I say overhyped by ABC and to a lesser extent ESPN (owned by same company) as a Michael Jordan show.



The story---at least the first four parts as I interpret them is about the Chicago Bulls and how they became the most successful NBA Basketball team of the 1990's. A lot of time has been devoted to Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, two of the primary contributors on the teams, along with Coach Phil Jackson and more.


Our narrator/primary storyteller is none other than Mr. Jordan himself, which is great. He is/was the common denominator on the teams that grew to be among the most successful in NBA history from Jordan's arrival in 1984 through the puzzling breakup of the team in 1998.


As told from Michael's perspective, the stories have been interesting...but shed little insight on what makes the man most believe is the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) tick. In the first four episodes we get generalized stories, few of which aren't already out there. We see that Jordan was largely the driving force behind the teams and often the guy who helped motivate his teammates (ok, Pippen and Rodman)....but little else.


Really it's my only criticism. The show itself is fantastically produced, shot and edited beautifully mixed with some fascinating old video that brought back memories for me.


As a lifelong basketball fan who in the 80's was fascinated by Magic Johnson and the Lakers, I also knew extensively about Jordan and the Bulls. Like most, my first exposure was the 1982 NCAA Championship Game when he hit the buzzer beater heard 'round the world to beat Georgetown. For years I had a program from that game (my H.S Coach was there and got one for each of us on the team)...


It's made me smile to see the reactions of many of my friends to watching the doc. Gushing, fawning and overwhelmed, it's nice to see how many remember that time with the love the filmmakers did.


I look forward to watching the last set of episodes to see where and how the story goes. I hope--or suspect we'll get more details on Jordan and why he was who he was at that time. From the death of his father to the baseball adventure, there were lots of rumors and stories out there about Jordan's life, some good and some pretty bad--but most of which haven't been explored in detail.


While I've thoroughly enjoyed seeing and finding out how the Bulls dynasty came to be, I was drawn to the show because of Mike. I want to know more about what made the GOAT, the GOAT and am, like most of you, hoping this is going to be the forum where we'll get it.


Though I could be wrong.

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