The Last Dance concludes an amazing story



The hit series The Last Dance concludes tonight, finishing a 10-part story of the 90s era Chicago Bulls.

Troy Walker, Sports Editor

If you are any sort of sports fan, it’s probably inevitable that you are watching, or will watch, The Last Dance, a 10 part mini-series showing off the ups, downs, and everything in between of the Michael Jordan era Chicago Bulls from the 1990s.

The Last Dance has offered an insight into the trials and tribulations into arguably the greatest basketball player to ever grace the face of the earth and especially his final victory run in the 1997-98 season. The Bulls allowed an NBA entertainment crew to follow that team around and has now released a lot of the never-before seen footage. The series has been airing two episodes every Sunday, leading up to the series finale when the final two episodes air Sunday, May 17.

When it comes to Michael Jordan’s story, it’s hard to find a certain place to start or end. You could go on and on about what a vicious competitor MJ became after his childhood filled with fierce competition, sibling struggles, and being cut from his high school basketball team ultimately led to the creation of the machine on the court, and the man off of it that is Michael Jordan. The series has taken sports fans on the most vivid, face-to-face look we will ever get into the ultimate success story that is Michael Jordan, and has left viewers craving more after each episode.

Some of Michael Jordan’s most memorable accomplishments include: 1985 Rookie of the Year, five-time NBA MVP, Six-time NBA champion,  Six-time NBA Finals MVP, Ten-time All-NBA First Team, Nine time NBA All-Defensive First Team, Defensive Player of the Year, 14-time NBA All-Star, Three-time NBA All-Star MVP, Ten scoring titles (an NBA record). MJ Retired with the NBA’s highest scoring average of 30.1ppg, and was a  Hall of Fame inductee without and questioning. 

It is from my STRONG suggestion that you give it a watch. Because of the current state of sports in the country, with most pro sports only starting to open back up, The Last Dance gives sports fans something to look forward to every week, and has been one of the most watched series’ in recent history.

The Last Dance has given TV show hosts, ESPN analysts, and twitter warriors something to either talk about for hours on end, or argue about. The show provides countless points and times in history that people just love to debate about, and for this reason the shot has been at the center of the sports world through the past couple of weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Last Dance: What we’ve seen so far. 

The Last Dance  provides a unique story that shifts throughout frequently between 1997-98 and other important eras in Bulls history. The time flips may seem random and confusing at points, but they don’t truly alter the story at all. For me the Last Dance has solidified the fact that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player in history. No I’m not trying to start any “G.O.A.T.” debates, but it’s hard to not accept and cherish the greatness, and the demon with a killer mindset that his airness was on the court. The Last Dance not only offers a look into Michael and the Bulls “last dance”, but it allows the viewer to see underlying story lines involving all of MJ’s career, and all six of his rings.

The Last Dance isn’t focused ALL on Michael Jordan, as we get deep insight into many of the thoughts, and storylines of some of his best teammates like Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Horace Grant, while also seeing what some of his greatest on-court enemies thought of him. 

There have been many key topics of conversation, one of them being whether MJ treated his teammates in an acceptable manner, and whether or not he was a “good” teammate. In episode 7, which features a lot of talk about his leadership skills, Michael said things like, “Look, winning has a price and leadership has a price,” and “So I pulled people along when they didn’t want to be pulled. I challenged people when they didn’t want to be challenged. … When people see this, they are going to say: ‘Well, he wasn’t really a nice guy. He may have been a tyrant.’ Well, that’s you. Because you never won anything.”

Episode 7 was arguably the most insight sports fans have ever gotten into the mind of Michael Jordan, as he delivered a touching ending sentiment  after being asked about why he was such a harsh leader and teammate. “Look, I don’t have to do this. I’m only doing it because it is who I am. That’s how I played the game.” Said MJ, “That was my mentality. If you don’t wanna play that way, don’t play that way.” All while slight tears seemed to linger in the eyes of Michael Jordan.

Before Michael Jordan became who he was as an adult, he was an outgoing extremely competitive kid who played his college basketball for North Carolina. One of the most famous stories about Michael Jordan is that he was cut from his High School basketball team his freshman year, the show also provided the fact that MJ was actually suspended three times that same year, and a long hard talking from his dad provided him with the motivation to change his attitude around. 

On the court we have been given a deep depth view of what goes on in locker rooms, and with the player-coach- management relationship struggles of the Jordan era Bulls. Despite winning championships on top of championships it seemed as though the success of the Bulls held a cloud over Jerry Krause, and caused many consequential issues between players and management. Some of the biggest problems included Scottie Pippen sitting out for most of the year because of a minor injury to prove a point. Scottie Pippen was severely underpaid through the years in Chicago and decided to take a stand, and finally came back. We also get a look at Michal Jordan’s retirements and how his relationship with his dad pushed him to play minor league baseball for the White sox, until the MLB lockout allowed him to come back to the NBA and win 3 more titles.

Another main storyline so far has been what Michael Jordan did off the court in his free time, many people believed that Michael had a severe gambling problem, and struggled with alcohol addiction in his later years in the league. When I hear people talk about this sort of stuff in a bad manner, it makes me just realize that when someone gets to such a high point in their life, and reaches a certain sense of greatness, people will say anything to tear it down. Michael Jordan admitted to gambling, but always said it wasn’t a problem, which I believe is true because if you look at the amount of money made throughout his career, who’s to tell him he can’t gamble minor fractions of that to find fun and competitiveness in his free time. 

Despite all the speculation, good debate, bad debate, the show so far has taken viewers on a unique spin into the lives of many people involved in the success of Michael Jordan, and the Bulls. We were shown in the intense rivalry with the “Bad Boy” pistons, the Lakers, the Trail Blazers, the Knicks and his infamous feud with Patrick Ewing, the Sonics, the rivalry between MJ and Charles Barkley when the Bulls played the Suns, the Jazz with the dynamic duo of Malone and Stockton and more to come in the next two episodes (the Pacers).

So far the show has been nothing short of a success and viewers around the world cannot wait to see the story tied together for the final time tonight when the final 2 episodes of the show air on ESPN at 9 o’clock EST.

What to look for in episodes 9&10

Episodes 7, and 8 provided a perfect lead into this coming week’s episodes. We see Jordan’s inevitable retirement looming over the Bulls as they look to make one last run for the championship, the end of an era seems near. We see the interesting switch over to baseball in 93’ and 94’ and Jordan’s controversial retirement. Viewers see a small sample of what the team was like without Jordan, and how Scottie Pippen flashed bad leadership qualities as he failed to bring victory to the Bulls. 

The end of episode 8 shows Jordan’s loss against the Magic, and the motivation that pushed him to get back to where he was, while playing pickup games at the set of SpaceJam. We see Jordan switch back to the number 23, and are properly propelled into this week’s episodes. 

If you’re a Pacers or Jazz fan, you may want to watch these last 2 episodes cautiously. All of the episodes so far have led into the next two which will showcase the most important “last dance” for MJ and the Bulls. We will look to see what happened during MJ’s last run, and the beating of the stacked Indiana Pacers team coached by legend Larry Bird in the eastern conference finals which then led to the hard fought series between the Bulls and the Jazz in the 1998 NBA finals.