The untold story of Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls saves a sports-less Quarantine
I’m not the first person to say “I’m not a sports guy.” Sure I watch the Superbowl every year and enjoy the occasional hockey game. But sports… never really been my thing. Which is why I can’t imagine being a sports fan during a crisis like this. The NBA? Suspended until further notice. The Olympics? Not till 2021. A televised Horse Competition? Eh. But in a time of darkness and peril, there was one thing that saved sports fans, The Last Dance.
The 10 episode docu-series about retired NBA basketball player and MVP, Michael Jordan, has been airing two episodes every Sunday for the past two weeks on ESPN. Each episode examines the Chicago Bulls 1997-1998 season and the various victories and defeats they went through to becoming reigning NBA Champions. The series consists of footage taken by a documentary team hired by NBA Entertainment to follow the Chicago Bulls during Coach Phil Jackson’s final season with the team. After the season, however, the film was packed-up and thrown into storage where it stayed for nearly 20 years. It wasn’t until the director of the series, Jason Hehir, was given the footage by executive producer Michael Tollin that it finally saw the light of day.
The result of this is one of the most popular docu-series since Netflix’s Tiger King. The Last Dance has captivated basketball fans, sports fans, and fans of quality entertainment. Even more so since ESPN has been struggling to find content to broadcast since the spread of COVID-19. The first two episodes alone had a viewership of 5.3 million viewers according to an article by Vulture.
Overall the series is a hit, and not just because people are running out of things to stream at home. The Last Dance is by far one of ESPN’s best docu-series compared to other projects like O.J: Made in America. Mainly in part to the incredible footage taken in 97′ and 98′. But also because fans of the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan get to see the full picture. The unfiltered interviews of the players and the management staff recollecting their relationships with each other and their philosophies on what winning a championship meant to them completes the documentary. From rivalries to upbringings, we see it all.
The Last Dance isn’t just a series for “sports people” but people. No matter who’s watching, you’ll be able to connect with it on some level and that what makes this docu-series you should be watching right now.