The Last Dance Reactions: Episodes 1 & 2


Prasham Jobanputra

In the first two episodes of "The Last Dance", Michael Jordan's years at UNC are featured where he became a star and changed from "Mike Jordan" to "Michael Jordan."

The long awaited ESPN documentary “The Last Dance” aired the first two episodes of a ten-part series last night.  The production documents the Chicago Bulls on their 1997-98 season as well as everything building up to that last championship season.  Now not only is this documentary interesting in a sense of just learning the history and behind the scenes info of the Bulls dynasty, but also gives more perspective in one of the biggest debates in sports right now, the GOAT of basketball.  I’ve said LeBron is the best of all-time and I would back that up, but at the same time, a lot of that has to do with the fact that I wasn’t alive to watch Michael Jordan.  So this documentary presents perspective and history that will for sure make for an entertaining series, and I’m definitely going in with an open mind to be persuaded in the GOAT debate.  With two episodes airing every Sunday night, I will be reacting to some of the moments that stood out to me.

I had always heard that the Bulls superstar at the time, Michael Jordan, didn’t like signing and interacting too much with the fans.  Well that was definitely evident in a very quick clip.  Jordan is in France and is about to go on some sort of talk show and a man is helping Jordan put on his mic.  Once Jordan is mic’d up, the man asked Jordan for his signature.  Now my issue was not that Jordan said no, because I understand professional athletes don’t have time to sign every autograph they are asked for.  My issue was Jordan’s reaction, he gave the man an annoyed look and he did not respond him and just waited for another man, almost like a security guard, to decline the signature.  Not to mention that the French man will probably never get another opportunity to get that autograph.

This one sounds obvious, but I would never have thought it was at this level.  Jordan and his Bulls teammates really did feel comfortable with the Bulls organization and maybe even a little bit too much.  I thought this was the case when Jordan is talking to the “villain” of the series, general manager Jerry Krause.  Krause was holding medicine pills at practice and Jordan asked Krause if those pills were to keep him short or if they were diet pills.  Now, you could be saying, “Krause deserved it for treating his players unfairly.”  But it’s probably just a little too far when you’re calling your GM short and fat.

In game 2 of the first round of the playoffs in 1986, Jordan dropped 63 points against the Celtics.  Larry Bird, a Hall of Famer, when asked about Jordan that game, said, “It’s just God disguised as Michael Jordan.”  I have heard people describe Jordan as a God-like figure, Allen Iverson even called him “Black Jesus.”  But to hear Larry Bird, a legend and one of the faces of the NBA, call Jordan, God, that’s pretty impactful.  No one just says that about a player after they go off for a great performance.  Definitely one of the stand out clips from the first weekend.

The last topic from the first two episodes that I want to talk about is Scottie Pippen.  I have always liked Scottie Pippen, I like his playstyle and how he was the greatest sidekick ever, because to be the sidekick to Michael Jordan had to be difficult, especially after Jordan came back from baseball.  Pippen finished 3rd in the MVP voting without Jordan so he was probably getting ready to take over the team.  But anyway, I lost a lot of respect for Pippen last night.  I understand he was upset with the front office about his contract, but when he waited to get surgery just so he could enjoy the summer and miss the beginning of the regular season, I lost respect.  I thought it was extremely selfish and disrespectful to his teammates that are trying to go win another championship.  In all honesty, if I were the general manager of the Bulls and that happen, I would have released him.  And let’s not forget, he was warned not to sign the contract he did.  He wanted the long term contract early in his career which is fine, but then he has to understand that he might give up a lot of money that he could earn later.

Those are my thoughts from the first weekend and Sunday can’t come any faster.  Check back next week to see my reactions and thoughts from episodes three and four of “The Last Dance” on ESPN.