“The Last Dance” highlights those instrumental in furthering the Chicago Bulls dynasty as well as those who were judged by many
Art by Tricia Guevara | Photo from NBA
The first two episodes of “The Last Dance” was a breath of fresh air for basketball fans. For one, there’s never-before-seen footage of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls—the team that transcended expectations in the ’90s.
The documentary also focused on Jordan’s childhood and formative years with the 1998 team, his legacy, a fearless account of Scottie Pippen being underpaid and, of course, the triumphs and challenges the dynasty endured.
“The Last Dance” also highlighted people who were instrumental in furthering the Bulls dynasty as well as those who were judged by many. Here are the winners and losers on its premiere:
The first two episodes of “The Last Dance” attracted 6.1 million viewers in the US, making it the most viewed documentary in ESPN history. This is good news for the sports network, especially in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic when major sporting events have been canceled this year.
The Last Dance averaged 6.1 million viewers for Episodes 1 and 2 over ESPN and ESPN 2. That’s the most-watched doc in ESPN history. Tops “You Dont Know Bo” which drew 3.6 million viewers for its debut.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) April 20, 2020
Viewers, especially young ones, were given the chance to learn about Jordan’s career. “The Last Dance” portrayed the reason why Jordan is indeed the greatest basketball player of all time. Since he was drafted in 1984, Jordan brought hope to Chicago after promising to deliver several championships to the city. Jordan did just that. Moreover, the GOAT is also donating his entire share earned from “The Last Dance” to COVID-19 charity programs.
34 years ago, Michael Jordan made history.
His 63 points are still the most in a single NBA playoff game 🐐
— ESPN (@espn) April 20, 2020
NBA legend Larry Bird described the six-time NBA champion in “The Last Dance” as “God who disguised as Michael Jordan.” And that couldn’t have been any more true.
The Chicago Bulls dynasty
The Chicago Bulls dynasty brought a new era to NBA basketball during the ’90s, especially after the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics ruled the ’80s. The ’90s Bulls were known for having one of the greatest dynasties after winning six championships between 1991 and 1998 with two three-peats. “The Last Dance” reminded viewers why no basketball fan will ever forget about the golden years of the Bulls.
The game’s best player. Its best coach. Its best GM. Disgruntled Hall of Famers. A quiet owner. The feud that consumed them all.
Why did a thriving dynasty become a lame-duck season?
This is the true story of how the 1998 Chicago Bulls became #TheLastDance.
A thread. pic.twitter.com/z0AwqI11PF
— Jack M Silverstein (@readjack) April 19, 2020
Basketball fans around the world were treated to arguably the best documentary in years. And it couldn’t have been released at a better time. The NBA playoffs were supposed to take place on Apr. 19, arguably the most exciting time for basketball fans. “The Last Dance” gave fans their basketball fix and was surely one of the most exciting things to happen in this tough time. “The Last Dance” watch party on Twitter alone trended for hours after it was released.
These 2 hours were by far the best I’ve had in over a month. Got some really bad off days and grandma being in the hospital (she’s stable now) and this really made me feel like me again. I love y’all. #TheLastDance 🏀
— vic (@CountOnVic) April 20, 2020
“The Last Dance” highlighted the poor relationship Jordan and the Bulls had with their general manager Jerry Krause. The conflict started because Krause believed it takes the whole organization (including executives in the front office) to win a championship while Jordan thought it’s the players that really carry a team.
Krause was also the main reason why the Bulls dynasty ended after the general manager wanted to rebuild the 1997-1998 team—and eventually ceasing head coach Phil Jackson’s reign with the team.
Jordan roasting Jerry Krause gets funnier every time https://t.co/WRdJplNLDz
— Barstool Chicago (@barstoolchicago) April 20, 2020
In fact, when Jordan gave his Hall of Fame speech in 2009, his relationship with Krause remained sour. It was evident in his speech that Krause was the main culprit for breaking up one of the most prolific dynasties in basketball history.
French audio producer who tried to sneak an autograph from MJ
Towards the latter part of the documentary, a French audio producer was seen asking for an autograph from Jordan only to be denied by one of the Bulls staff. If the producer had that autograph today, imagine how big of a deal that would’ve been.
Every player on the 1984 Bulls protecting “that” secret
In the first episode, Jordan admitted he wanted nothing to do with drugs, alcohol, and women when he joined as a rookie in 1984. Jordan mentioned that on one of their road trips, he walked into a hotel room occupied by the 1984 Bulls roster who were doing cocaine, smoking marijuana, and womanizing. Jordan was quick to say that he came to the NBA to win, not to get caught up in vices, which is why he was pretty much alone the whole time.
Current Dallas Mavericks head coach had his moment of fame in the second episode. When the eight-seeded Bulls went up against the top seed Boston Celtics in the 1986 playoffs, Jordan made Carlisle’s life a living hell after an outstanding performance in the first round series. The documentary highlighted how Carlisle couldn’t seem to keep up with Jordan as broadcasters even said “Rick Carlisle just wants his mommy.”
Rick Carlisle was just minding his own Business and living his life. Successful championship winning coach and player.
Now, he just got introduced to a whole new generation because he got deep fried by Michael Jordan in a playoff game 35 years ago. pic.twitter.com/ssnK8rHPNx
— Jay Scott Smith (@JayScottSmith) April 20, 2020
Lucky for Carlisle, the Celtics ended up winning that series and the championship. But right now, his boys from the Mavericks are making sure to point out a performance he’d want to forget.
Lol come on coach 🤦🏽♂️
— Jalen Brunson (@jalenbrunson1) April 20, 2020
Scottie Pippen’s agent Jimmy Sexton
The second episode of “The Last Dance” highlighted how Scottie Pippen was treated poorly by Krause’s management. Pippen signed a seven-year, $18 million contract, which is remembered today as one of the worst in NBA history. He was the team’s sixth highest paid player and ranked 122nd in the league in terms of salary. His agent Jimmy Sexton is partly to blame because Sexton could have at least demanded better for Pippen—which would have also improved the relationship of the team and management.
— ParrisNoFrance (@d_juxtaposition) April 20, 2020