The Last Dance Reactions: Episodes 3 & 4


Prasham Jobanputra

Episode 3 of the “The Last Dance” dove into the career and life of Dennis Rodman, an interesting character to say the least.

When 9 p.m. eastern came on Sunday night, every sports fan knew episodes three and four of “The Last Dance” were going to be interesting, with the documentary turning their focuses to Dennis Rodman and the Bad Boys of Detroit.  Without further ado, here are my thoughts and reactions from episodes three and four of the highly anticipated ESPN documentary.

First, I was almost shocked to see and hear the trust Michael Jordan put in Rodman, while Pippen missed the beginning of the 1998 season.  To see Jordan go from being skeptical of Rodman joining the team to almost like a big brother to Rodman, supports even more the great leader Jordan was and how much he wanted to win.  Nothing else mattered, it was just about winning no matter who the characters around him were.

Society sees Rodman as a crazy character to say the very least.  But we saw that when it came to basketball,  Rodman was incredibly smart.  There was the scene where Rodman just starts going in on his defensive game plans and his defensive game plans against some of the greats like Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird.  They showed clips of Rodman studying film, taking notes, and then studying the notes.  Jordan, a former defensive player of the year, chimed in and said Rodman was one of the most intelligent players he ever played with.  I’m not saying Rodman isn’t a mad man, but he was a high intellectual on the court.

At one point in the documentary, it hit me.  It didn’t matter that Krause was going to breakup the team after the ’98 season, because the team was too dysfunctional to stay together.  Their second star, Scottie Pippen, was acting selfishly and requesting a trade.  Rodman wanted a vacation and that’t not the worst part of that situation.  The worst part is that Phil Jackson, in my opinion the greatest coach ever, let him go on vacation.  Forget that Rodman was one of their key players. How can you let any player go on vacation to party in Las Vegas in the middle of the season?  Thankfully for the Bulls, they had Michael Jordan to keep everyone in their place and set an example.  For Jordan to track Rodman down in a hotel room in Las Vegas, that’s true leadership.

The Bulls vs the Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons is one of the most interesting rivalries in sports.  And we saw that there are still harsh feelings towards each other.  It was clearly presented that Jordan still hates Isiah Thomas and the Pistons and will forever.  Jordan said it didn’t matter what Thomas said about “the walkout”, where the Pistons chose to walk off the floor and not shake the Bulls hands.  It will be interesting to see if Thomas has the same message when the documentary talks about how Jordan supposedly had Thomas left off the 1992 Olympic USA basketball team, also known as the “Dream Team.”

If you read my article on episodes one and two (if not, click here), I said I wanted to watch this documentary with the idea of the GOAT debate in the back of my head.  Before Jordan’s first championship, the narrative in the NBA was that Jordan was a great player, but couldn’t win championships, which is a similar narrative that LeBron James received before his first championship.  LeBron was in his 9th NBA season when he got his first championship while Jordan was in his 7th, so they weren’t too far of each other.  Just thought that was something worth mentioning.

I also realized a difference between Jordan and LeBron.  Many people argue, who is a better leader and who made their team better more.  They are both great leaders and both made/make their teams better, just in different ways.  Jordan helped develop his teammates by pushing them and making them tougher.  LeBron puts his teammates in opportunities to be successful on the floor with his play style.  Essentially they take different routes, but get to the same destination.

Another great Sunday night on ESPN, and it will be continued next Sunday with episodes four and five, which will be life after the first title in the Bulls dynasty.  Check in next Monday morning to see my thoughts on the next installments of “The Last Dance.”