Fans Get Basketball Fix from “The Last Dance” Documentary

%22The+Last+Dance%22+chronicles+the+final+season+of+the+Chicago+Bulls%27+dynasty+in+1997-98.

Photo courtesy of https://www.techradar.com/news/the-last-dance-next-episode-espn-netflix.

“The Last Dance” chronicles the final season of the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty in 1997-98.

In a time like this, everyone has found their own way to deal with the things they miss the most. Whether it’s seeing family and friends, eating at restaurants, or going to the movies, this pandemic has taken away many aspects of life that people would have never imagined losing. For sports fans, especially basketball fans, the suspension of the NBA season hit hard. 

“The fact that I can’t watch sports when I get home is the worst part,” said eighth grader Colby Mack. “I also miss watching the Lakers, which are my favorite team,” he said. 

Once the release date for the highly anticipated The Last Dance documentary release was announced, it was a silver lining for all of the lost basketball fans. It was originally scheduled to release on May 17, but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ESPN made sure that people got a special treat almost a month early.

Photo courtesy of https://www.theheckler.com/2020/04/20/1998-bulls-win-2020-nba-championship.
Michael Jordan holds up the Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy while Head Coach Phil Jackson brandishes the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy as the Bulls celebrate their Finals win over the Utah Jazz in 1998.

The documentary focuses on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, which was the last year of the Bulls’ dynasty that saw them win six titles in eight years. It was also the last year of Michael Jordan’s career with the Bulls, a player whom many consider to be the greatest basketball player of all time. The film includes interviews and opinions, and digs into all the drama that surrounded that legendary team that went 62-20 during the regular season and beat the Jazz four games to two in the NBA Finals.. Episodes one and two out of ten were released on Sunday, April 19, with two more being released every Sunday until May 17. The series features footage from a crew that had an all-access pass to the Bulls during the ’97-’98 season.

It also includes personal interviews with NBA legend Michael Jordan (starting shooting guard), NBA legend Scottie Pippen (starting small forward), NBA legend Dennis Rodman (starting power forward), hall of fame coach Phil Jackson (head coach for the team), and so much more. 

Most of the drama is centered around Jerry Krause, the Bulls’ general manager at the time. The way he acted and the decisions he made created tension between him and the actual players. For example, before the season started, Krause did not want to bring Phil Jackson back as head coach. This infuriated Michael Jordan, who later said that he would not come back to the Bulls if Phil Jackson was not at the helm.

Photo courtesy of https://www.complex.com/sports/2020/04/michael-jordan-the-last-dance-storylines.
Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan were the dynamic duo of the Bulls’ dynasty, leading them to six championships in eight years.

The documentary also includes the backstories of different players’ lives. It reveals the players’ childhoods, high school careers, college careers, and their paths to the NBA. For example, it gives viewers a peek at Scottie Pippen’s high school highlights, college highlights at Central Arkansas, and clips of him getting drafted in 1987.

With the suspension of the NBA season, this documentary is the next best thing for basketball fans to watch. It goes behind the scenes of one of the most dominant dynasties in all of sports history. If it had been released before the pandemic, many people would have recorded it and not watched it live. According to deadline.com, when the first two episodes came out on April 19, more than 6.1 million viewers tuned in to the documentary, making it the most-viewed ESPN documentary ever. It also received a 9.5/10 IMDb.com rating, and 96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Although the suspension of the NBA season leaves a bad taste in fans’ mouths, at least they can whet their basketball appetite a bit with these ten episodes of The Last Dance documentary.