April 22, 2020
The ten-part documentary series “The Last Dance” premiered last Sunday in spectacular fashion on ESPN. The series is set to take basketball fans through a journey of Michael Jordan’s incredible career and highlight the memorable 1997-98 Bulls season. The first two episodes were aired on Sunday and while it’s easy to binge watch a show on Netflix, millions of viewers were glued to their screens for the two hour premiere of a much anticipated look into the Bulls and especially Michael Jordan.
Spinnaker’s sports crew gave their hot takes, feedback and a different range of opinions on the first two episodes and what they are looking forward to in the next eight episodes.
The next two parts of “The Last Dance” premiere this Sunday night at nine eastern on ESPN.
John Watson, News Director
As a man who loves many different sports and has recently been introduced to the intricate society of NBA fans and NBA basketball, I came into this documentary with an open mind. Having been born after Y2K and have never seen Michael Jordan play an NBA game, all I can watch are highlight videos and read ESPN articles comparing Lebron James and Jordan. Having said that, the documentary was well put together and showcased parts of Michael Jordan’s legendary and mysterious career.
Michael Jordan was introduced in a humble way in the series. They made sure to give credit where credit was due and took their time to make sure Jordan was shown in the right light. Growing up and having to fight for every opportunity was a big part of Jordan’s childhood and the film showed that. Even at North Carolina, he didn’t come in as an immediate star and had to work his way to becoming a national champion and the third overall pick in the draft. I thought his mother’s story about him calling and asking for stamps was priceless and showed the type of person that Michael Jordan was.
Overall, I thought the show had great moments, but as a story, it bounced around a lot and didn’t flow all too well. Not telling the story in chronological order is a feat that only some noir films can do and I think the first episode was definitely not in very good rhythm. However, the second episode was a lot better because they finally started to piece together the 1997-98 season that the series is about and started setting context for the narrative. The filmmakers tried to tell Scottie Pippen’s journey in between stories about Michael Jordan and it kind of got lost in translation.
As the first two episodes came to an end, I was very pleased with the show and even as messy as I said it was, it still proved to be a good entertainment value and an interesting angle about one of basketball’s greatest players.
Zach Yearwood, Sports Reporter
Very few shows (let alone a documentary) could entice me enough to schedule an hour or more for consecutive Sunday nights to sit down and watch it in its entirety like ‘The Last Dance’ has done. ‘Game of Thrones’ was the only other program I’ve reserved time to watch.
The opportunity to get an inside look at the greatest basketball player of all time (arguably the greatest athlete of all time) at the height of his success is one that a sports fan should never pass up; especially sports fans in their early 20’s or younger who never got to witness peak Michael Jordan.
‘The Last Dance’ does more than praise Jordan for his accomplishments and displays how great of an athlete he was (like everything else I’ve ever seen about Jordan). The first two episodes of the ten-part documentary also shine a light on the turmoil within the Bulls organization including the debate over whether the team should rebuild and the rapidly deteriorating relationship between Scottie Pippen and the team’s front office.
With two episodes being released each week, ‘The Last Dance’ is a five-course meal and Sunday’s airing was the delicious french onion soup that left me eager for what’s coming next.
Drew McDonald, Sports Editor
Growing up, I knew the names like MJ, Scottie and Rodman but I never knew the full story of the ‘90’s Bulls. The premiere of The Last Dance was an event that everyone around the world could be a part of and I think that’s why we all connect with it.
The first episode showed how Michael came to be and it’s crazy to think of the legends he played with at UNC: Sam Perkins, Kenny “The Jet” Smith and James Worthy. Seeing Jordan develop into this superstar was fun to watch. We also saw the villain in Jerry Krause, who was the Bulls’ General Manager. There was a clear divide between the team and Jerry and I could tell based on the players/coaches interviews.
With the second episode, it focused on Scottie Pippen and how his absence from the team caused a ripple effect. People are split on Pippen because one side sees him as the perfect number two in the NBA and others see him as a guy who was lucky the Bulls traded for him. Either way, it was clear that there was a chip on his shoulder and he wanted to leave Chicago due to his very team-friendly contract.
My favorite part of the documentary was the soundtrack. The starting lineup music for the Bulls gives me goosebumps and when they played LL Cool J’s “I’m Bad” during their 1986 playoff games against the Boston Celtics, you were bobbing your head while Mike was dropping 63 on the Celtics .
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