The Last Dance Reactions: Episode 7 & 8


Prasham Jobanputra

All the lights shine on Michael Jordan and the Bulls during their last championship run.

Another Sunday has past and another two episodes of ESPN’s documentary “The Last Dance” are in the books.  Episodes seven and eight took a look at Michael Jordan’s first retirement, his baseball career, and him eventually taking back his basketball throne.

A conspiracy theory that has been around for years is that Jordan retired from basketball after the 93 season, because David Stern suspended him behind the scenes for Jordan’s gambling problem.  This theory to me never did make sense because like the documentary said, Jordan was the entire NBA from a business standpoint.  Jersey revenue, tv ratings, and ticket sales all take a hit when the face of league (and sports) retires.  So for the commissioner to think about suspending Jordan for over a year just doesn’t make sense.  Of course Jordan and Stern denied that theory and hopefully it goes to rest now.

The difficulty of playing baseball has always been underrated, perhaps the hardest thing to do in sports is hit a baseball.  I thought Jordan’s baseball career was just a hobby to him and the White Sox agreed for publicity.  The publicity part is probably true, but Jordan was actually good at baseball.  The quote that sticks out to me, maybe more than any other quote in the documentary series, was when Terry Francona said, “In my opinion, with 1,500 at bats, he’d have found a way to get to the major leagues.”  For those who don’t know, Francona is a championship manager and will probably be in the Hall of Fame one day, so for him to say that, it has a lot of value.  For Jordan to be that great at basketball and then pick up a baseball bat and hit over .200 at the double-a level is remarkable, let alone him having a chance at the big leagues.

In my reactions to the first two episodes, I talk about how Pippen was a selfish teammate.  And him staying on the bench with the season on the line further proves this point.  Pippen was for himself even before 1998 and it went further than just his contract.  You could certainly make the argument that Pippen should have gotten the ball for the last shot, he certainly had earned it.  But in the timeout is not the place to act like a child.  Yes, it is an amazing feeling to be the reason your team wins, but the most important thing is that the team wins in general, something Pippen lost sight of.

What was George Karl waiting for?  I understand his thinking of not putting Gary Payton on Jordan, so that Payton had more energy on offense.  But this is the NBA Finals, it’s suppose to take everything each player has, especially the best player on the team like Payton.  He was the defensive player of the year, it’s his job to guard the best player.  Karl really messed up that defensive assignment, and it might have cost him and his team a championship.

“The Last Dance” wraps up next Sunday with the final two episodes looking at Bulls 5th and 6th championships, and it will pickup with a classic Jordan vs. Reggie Miller series.