Eight episodes in, “The Last Dance” documentary is a statement of why Michael Jordan is considered the greatest sports icon while simultaneously showing the events leading up to the famous 97-98′ season when the Chicago Bulls won their third consecutive championship and sixth championship overall.
The long-awaited documentary gives sports fans the answers to why certain events unfolded the way it did with unforeseen footage that had been stowed away in the NBA records for over 20 years.
Footage from inside locker rooms, practices, and team planes gives the audience a deeper look into how the Bulls operated from the triangle offense to Dennis Rodman’s infamous Las Vegas trip.
While the documentary could solely focus on Jordan and his rise to greatness, the creators instead chose to put the final season as the center of the documentary. It shows how the team was built for greatness, starting back when Jordan was drafted in 1984 to the beginning of the 97-98′ season when the team handbook was handed out, titled ‘The Last Dance’.
The episodes are formatted to explain why the 97-98′ season was considered ‘the last dance’ of the Bulls’ dominance. Jordan didn’t win the six championships alone and the documentary emphasizes that by showing the stories of the cornerstone players that took the Bulls from a lowly franchise to the epicenter of basketball.
One episode focuses on Scottie Pippen, Jordan’s right-hand man. The episode details Pippin’s life in small-town Arkansas to the rise of the greatest number two player in NBA history and future Hall-of-Famer.
Another episode spotlights hard-nosed defender Dennis Rodman with his story of becoming one of the most feared players in NBA history while also breaking the boundaries of normalcy outside of basketball.
There are interviews with a wide array of former and current players, coaches, owners, journalists, and even a former President. Each gives a different perspective of the magic of Jordan and the Bulls.
Stories like the heated rivalry between the Bulls and the Detroit Pistons are retold by the players, who to this day still have an underlying hatred for each other. Eventually, the championship torch was finally passed from the Pistons to Jordan and the Bulls, even if that handoff was not so friendly in the end.
The documentary also considers the question of whether the Bulls dynasty had to end after the 97-98′ season. The Bulls had just come off their second consecutive title and fifth in six years. Why would the end of the dynasty be finalized after such success and before ever playing the next season?
And after six episodes, those questions have been answered by showing that even in one of the most successful, dominant decades by any professional team, there can still be animosity between players and the front office with good things falling apart from the inside.
ESPN’s “The Last Dance” is a must-see series for anyone looking to relive or experience for the first time, the enchantment of Michael Jordan and the 90’s Bulls.