“The Last Dance” Documentary showcases the life of NBA legend Michael Jordan

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Credit: Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

The cover photo for "The Last Dance" shows players Steve Kerr, Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, and Dennis Rodman with coach Phil Jackson. The new hit documentary shows the life of basketball legend Michael Jordan and his journey to winning six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls.

Sammy Johnson

Many people know Michael Jordan as one of the best athletes to ever play the game of basketball, but how much do people actually know about him and his life? ESPN decided to show what the life of legend Michael Jordan looked like and what went on behind the scenes.

ESPN came out with a 10-part documentary series that takes a deep look into the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty and how Michael Jordan helped make it happen. Every Sunday night for five weeks, two back-to-back hour-long episodes of the series have been played. Much of the footage that was in the documentary was never seen before and was taken during the Chicago Bulls’ 1997-98 season.

Since everyone is at home during this time, people were waiting for something new and exciting to come out that they could watch. ESPN did a great job of advertising “The Last Dance” so that people got excited to watch it.

“I heard about the documentary from the trailer that was on Instagram,” junior Billy Cossart said.

Due to the lack of sports-related activity happening, people were dying to have something to watch during quarantine. When ESPN released “The Last Dance”, it gave people something to watch and they could also learn more about one of the greatest players of all time. Many of the viewers watching the show are teenagers that never got to watch Michael Jordan in person. This documentary was a great way to show Jordan’s success.

“I wanted to watch it so I could really see how the hype was around MJ when he was in the league,” senior Marcos Pereira said. “I think that’s what made a lot of the people my age want to watch it because we hear about him so much but never got the chance to watch him play.”

Besides the chance to learn more about one of the greats, there are also many other reasons to watch the show. The documentary went into the deep depths of the dynasty of the Chicago Bulls and got interviews with more than 100 people that were associated with the 1997-98 team.

“What first got me so interested was the [number] of celebrities that are interviewed in it,” Cossart said.

People have been loving the documentary. “The Last Dance” has given people a look into what the NBA in the ‘90s really looked like and how it operated differently from the NBA we know today.

“So far I’m really enjoying the documentary,” Pereira said. “I think the production is awesome and it’s really fun to watch.”

Like any professional sports team, there are ups and downs along the way. “The Last Dance” shows viewers how hard and complicated it is to play a professional sport and deal with fame and sacrifice.

“The documentary is very interesting because of how you can see that even the greatest dynasty had its issues,” freshman Luke Caples said.

Many people don’t know what it takes to be a professional athlete. Michael Jordan demonstrated the drive and passion needed to be great. Legends aren’t made overnight. Countless hours of work and practice are needed to be put in behind what everyone sees. Besides having the skill, Michael Jordan showed that he had the motivation and wanted to be the best and that he wasn’t going to stop until he was.

“My favorite part is when Michael returns to the Bulls and they go 72-10 and go into game 6 in the finals 3-2 on Father’s Day where they win and Jordan creates an iconic photo of him crying, holding the trophy, because of his father’s passing,” Caples said.

An iconic scene from “The Last Dance” is the game that Jordan played for the first time since his father’s death. His father was shot and killed in 1993. After Jordan had won three NBA titles, he announced his retirement from the game of basketball. The death of his father was a big influence on his decision to retire. He decided to then play two years in minor league baseball, but by 1995 realized he needed to return to the basketball court.

“Something I learned that I did not know was that Michael Jordan lost in the playoffs first when he came out of retirement,” Cossart said.

Clearly, Michael Jordan had gone through a lot during his basketball career. The death of his father didn’t stop him for very long because he continued to work when he returned and ended up winning three more NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls. The documentary shows countless times the mental toughness that Jordan had and how he dealt with pain.

“My favorite scene so far has been when Michael is arguing with Jerry Reinsdorf about playing on his almost fully healed ankle and Jerry asks “if you had a terrible headache and I said I had 10 pills, 9 of them will cure it and 1 will kill you, would you take a pill,” junior Will Carr said. “And Michael responds, “depends how bad the headache is.”

Scottie Pippen is introduced in the documentary and his relationship and career with Michael Jordan are shown. The combination of Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman brought three championship titles home to Chicago becoming the first team in NBA history to win three straight championships two times. Even though Pippen helped the Chicago Bulls greatly, he wasn’t appreciated the way he should’ve been.

“I learned how incredibly underrated Scottie Pippen was and the salary he took to continue the success of the franchise,” Caples said.

“The Last Dance” shows really what the life of a star is and how everything isn’t always easy. There are lots of hardships and pain that come with it but being able to push through the hard times and turn them into something great is what makes an athlete a legend. This is exactly what Michael Jordan did and how he helped win six NBA titles for the Chicago Bulls.

“The Chicago Bulls with MJ, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman, was the greatest basketball team of all time,” Carr said.