With no sport on around the world, The Last Dance Netflix and ESPN documentary about Michael Jordan and the 1997/98 Chicago Bulls season has become one of the most anticipated documentaries in recent history.
After all, it stars Michael Jordan, arguably the most famous athlete of all time, so it was always going to be hyped to the extremes, but the lack of sport has only made fans’ insatiable appetites stronger.
Netflix and ESPN pushed up the release date so fans would have something to watch and are releasing two episodes every Monday for five weeks. Which is slightly annoying in this binge-watching era we live in; I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing we could watch all 10 episodes in one sitting.
The footage captured is quite remarkable and features scenes in the Bulls locker room, on-court action and interviews with an abundance of stars like former US presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, along with Jordan’s righthand man on the court, Scottie Pippen, and his coach Phil Jackson.
Jordan is also interviewed, with one of his trusty cigars sitting right next to him accompanied by a glass of scotch or whiskey to go with it. It’s quite clear that the man they call the ‘Greatest of All Time (GOAT)’ does what he pleases.
The first two episodes jump between timelines from the 1997/98 season to Jordan’s high school and college years.
It also touched briefly on his early life in Carolina with Jordan saying his famously competitive nature was forged through his battles with his brother Larry.
That competitive nature would take him from a kid in a country town to become the GOAT in the big smoke.
We briefly witness his rise in college to then becoming the NBA rookie of the year in his first season at the Bulls.
The story about his second season is what showed that Jordan was different to everyone else. Jordan turned in a 63-point performance (still an NBA playoff record) that would famously see Celtics legend Larry Bird say post-game it was “God disguised as Michael Jordan”.
Jordan continued to take over the basketball world from that moment on. The aura he created is on show in a pre-season trip to France in 1997. People flocked to get a glimpse of Jordan and showed just how big of a rock star he had become.
Despite the Bulls amassing five championships in the previous seven seasons, the documentary shows that the 1997/98 season was not as sweet a ride as you would think.
Bulls GM Jerry Krause is made out to be the villain for wanting to replace Phil Jackson and rebuild this great team before the season started. Krause took a view that everyone was expendable except for Michael Jordan – a view that irked many in the Bulls organisation.
Given this was the first two episodes and just taste of what’s to come, I can’t wait for next Monday to roll around.
The last Dance is available to stream now on Netflix.
More film & TV reviews: