The last five Sunday’s, I have been glued to my couch for two hours watching The Last Dance as if I were watching a live game. I was locked in every minute. One thing that I enjoyed the most over this five-week period was scrolling through Twitter and seeing everyone talk about this docuseries and live tweet through it. The memes, the tears of the 3-6 mafia (nickname for LeBron stans FYI) and everyone’s appreciation for MJ the player and MJ the person made the experience of watching more enjoyable.
I remember MJ saying that this docuseries was going to make him look like a horrible person. I walk away after watching episode ten wondering why he would think that anyone would look at him like he is a horrible guy. If anything, I love the guy more than I already do.
I had many thoughts about this docuseries, and I wanted to take you guys through my 10 favorite moments, which was hard to narrow down.
1) The Bulls’ Traveling Cocaine Circus
I got a good laugh at this in the very first episode of the docuseries when the producers asked MJ about the “traveling cocaine circus.” Mainly because when they asked him, he laughed for a tellingly long time, which made me think, “oh yeah, he’s about to tell a legendary story. “
He went on to talk about how during preseason during his rookie year in 1984, his teammates were in a hotel room just partying it up. Something MJ said he had never seen in his life. Cocaine lines ,weed smoking and women in the hotel room. Part of me thought MJ was going to say something along the lines of, “I joined in,” or something crazy. Instead he said that he left because he’s just as guilty as everyone else if the room were to get raided.
I love this story because it was pure entertainment for the viewers, but it also showed that MJ had his head on straight and knew that he was there to hoop and not partake in any of the extracurricular activities.
2) The 1986 Playoffs
It’s honestly crazy that the Chicago Bulls went 30-52 this season and still went to the playoffs. It’s a good thing that they did though because MJ put together a legendary series. Averaging 43 ppg, 6 rebounds nearly six assits and 2 steals over a three-game span in that series against the Celtics.
Game 2 was simply a legendary performance where he scored 63 points, which is a playoff record to this day.
Larry Bird said MJ was God disguised as Michael Jordan. Powerful words from a legendary player.
The Bulls lost that series, but that was just a sneak peak of what was to come from MJ. That series, he put the league on notice. He let them know, “I’m here.”
One thought I had while watching this: Boy, NBA Twitter would have flamed this man for getting swept.
Also, “I’m Bad” by LL Cool J playing in the background while showing the highlights of Game 2 could not have been a better choice. I know that song is before my time, but I’m a music junkie and like all generations of music.
3) Dennis Rodman
I knew Dennis Rodman was a wild one, but I learned a lot about him from watching this docuseries including HOW much of a wild one he was.
Him talking about his trip to Vegas in the middle of the damn season was gold and it gave me a good laugh. When he was explaining how he told the team all he needed was 48 hours in Vegas and that he would be back ready to play, I could only imagine what was going through MJ’s head at that time.
The fact that Rodman did not make it back in those 48 hours and MJ had to go get him was why this was one of my favorite moments. Because they had to have know what was going to happen sending a guy like Rodman to Vegas for two days. However, the fact that he could tell his team he needed to get trashed in Vegas with his girlfriend at the time, Carmen Electra, and his championship team understanding that shows how much of a brotherhood this team had.
Then there was the 1998 Finals, where Rodman missed practice before Game 4 for an appearance with Hulk Hogan and the New World Order.
Could you imagine anyone in today’s NBA missing practice IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NBA FINALS? Phil Jackson said that he brought the team dishonor, which he did, but in Game 4, he had his best performance of the series. He had 14 rebounds and six points in a win that put Chicago within one game of another 3-peat.
This particular situation reminded me of how back in 2016, Klay Thompson missed practice the day before the Warriors had a game against the Pacers and then he showed up for game day and dropped a career high 60 points. I correlate the two because like Thompson, Rodman knew he let the team down by not showing up for practice, so he had to come out and do whatever it took for his team to win.
4) Kobe Bryant
Episode 5 tipped off with some footage of the 1998 All-star game when MJ and Kobe Bryant went head-to-head.
In a timeout, Jordan told his all-star teammates that he was going to make Kobe work on defense. And he did, but Kobe was up for the challenge. MJ had 23 and Kobe had 18.
My favorite part of this episode was seeing Kobe saying, “what you get from me, is from him.” Also, him saying that he does not get those five championships without him. It was honestly an emotional moment for me 1)because Kobe is no longer here and hearing him talk just made me sad and 2) because that just showed the brotherly relationship these two had and you can see how Kobe tried to emulate his game after MJ’s.
There will never be another Michael Jordan, but if there is anyone that comes remotely close to what Michael Jordan was on an aesthetic level, it is Kobe.
5) The Gambling
This topic was talked about in Episode 6. These are the stories that everyone, including me, was curious about.
He testified to a gambling debt he had to a guy named Slim Bouler in court. My thoughts when this was being talked about: How deep into gambling are you that you are gambling with a guy named Slim that has a damn jerry curl?
Another buddy of his, a golfing friend by the name of Richard Esquinas said that MJ owed him $1.2 million from bets on the gold course. Looks like gambling with MJ on the golf course was a easy come up for whoever MJ was playing against.
And my favorite gambling story, the late-night Atlantic City trip in the middle of the Eastern Conference Finals series against the New York Knicks in 1993, while being down 2-0. I loved this story because he was explaining how he went to Atlantic City and he was acting as if it were down the street from New York, when in reality, it was a three-hour drive. This clearly led to a lot of backlash from the media.
After his Atlantic City trip, the Bulls came back to win the series 4-2. At the end of the series, John Paxson credited the slander and backlash from Jordan’s gambling trip for the four straight wins to advance to the finals.
I loved this because Jordan shut up any backlash he got after that Atlantic City trip with his play and the ability to lead his team to the finals after trailing 0-2 in the series.
Then, of course, there was the infamous glasses inside interview right before the finals, addressing whether or not he had a gambling problem.
All in all, that part of the documentary was legendary to me.
6) Michael Jordan Taking Literally EVERYTHING Personally
MJ had a list of people that he wanted to make life a living hell for. He took everything so personally that once he stepped on the court, everyone was an enemy to him.
Clyde Drexler for example. Jordan hearing that he was being compared to Clyde offended him. He did not believe that he was in the same tier as him. Prior to the 1992 NBA Finals, MJ told Magic Johnson that he was going to take it to Drexler, and that is exactly what he did. Jordan had 39 points in that game
After he hit his sixth three of the first half in Game 1, we got the famous shrug.
Then there was the 1993 year, where Charles Barkley won MVP over him and he went out and averaged 41 points 8.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists over the course of six games en route to the Bulls’ third championship in a row.
SuperSonics coach George Karl not speaking to him before Game 1 of the 1996 NBA Finals was something that he also took personally. To be fair, that was a lose-lose situation for Karl because if he had said anything, MJ would have taken that personally as well.
BJ Armstrong, MJ’s former teammate, celebrated after he made a game-clinching jumpshot against the Bulls in Game 2 of the 1998 playoffs. “Now I have a bone to pick with you,” were MJ’s words. He would then go on to average 30 points for the rest of the series.
LaBradford Smith once told MJ “nice game” after a solid performance against the Bulls. Jordan told his teammates that he was going to dominate Smith the next time they met. He scored 47. Decades later, MJ told reporters that Smith never said nice game and that he made that up. Truly a sicko.
This was interesting to me because these seem like little things that he should not have let bother him. But he used these things as motivation and from the looks of it, it sure helped him.
7) The Summer of Space Jam
Before I start this, I want to say that Space Jam is the movie that introduced me to Michael Jordan and I have been a fan of his ever since, which is one of the reasons why this particular part of the docuseries was my favorite.
Jordan filmed Space Jam in the summer of 1995, but he told Warner Brothers studio that he needed his own basketball facility to get his work in while he was there shooting. They honored that and put a court and weightlifting equipment on the lot.
There were pickup basketball games that went on with NBA Stars like Reggie Miller, Juwan Howard and Dennis Rodman. Start times for the movie started at 6 a.m. and Jordan was still able to do that and go all out on the court and in the weight room.
I loved this part because after he made his return from baseball, you could tell that he was not in the shape he needed to be in. He realized that and committed himself to putting the work in, even when he had other obligations. And by the time the 1995-96 season came, it was curtains for the league.
8) The 1997 “Flu-Game”
I have heard that MJ had the flu during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, and I have heard that he was hungover. One thing that I have never heard and that has never been spoken about was the fact that the night before Game 5, MJ had some bad pizza. Tim Grover, his trainer, described that five men came and delivered a pizza that no one expect for MJ ate. Ultimately this led to food poisoning.
He still played in Game 5, despite spending the night before throwing up. He played 44 minutes and scored 38 points, all while looking miserable out there. Even while sick, MJ showed that he was the best player in the world, especially in the biggest moments.
9) Steve Kerr
I love Steve Kerr. That is the coach of my favorite team, the Golden State Warriors and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.
Episode 9 of The Last Dance gave us a bit of his background. He went into detail about how he was not heavily recruited out of high school and compared it to how he had a hard time getting girls in high school as well.
He also talked about how his father was shot and killed in Beirut, Lebanon and how he threw himself more deeply into basketball in order to cope with it. This really explained why he is so deep into politics and why he is so vocal about it.
We saw Kerr’s go-ahead bucket in Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals after MJ passed the ball to him when he was double-teamed. Jordan told Kerr to be ready, and he was.
That moment led to the classic championship parade speech from Kerr.
This was a classic example of MJ trusting his teammates and that is why I liked that moment so much.
I also enjoyed the story of when Jordan punched Kerr in the face before the 1995-96 season, the year the Bulls went 72-10, because Kerr said it made their relationship stronger
10) Game 6 of the 1998 Finals
All I have ever seen highlights of is the go-ahead bucket that MJ made to give the Bulls a one-point lead. However, those final 41 seconds of the game where MJ scored, stole the ball from Malone and sank perhaps the most famous shot of league history, at that time, made me appreciate that moment a whole lot more.
With Pippen limited with a back injury, it was up to MJ to lead the Bulls to glory. MJ struggled in the third quarter of the game going 2-6 from the field and Malone was giving the Bulls all they could handle.
With the game on the line, down 1, 5.2 seconds left in the game, Jordan dropping Byron Russell and nailing the winning shot is the most iconic image of his career.
Also, that was not a push off.
There were plenty of other legendary moments in this docuseries that I did not mention, but that just goes to show you how legendary Michael Jordan was. I thought MJ was the GOAT before The Last Dance, but after watching it, it just confirmed it for me.
I also want to note that the soundtrack was absolutely fire. Here it is down below.
One thing that I think is important to say is that you can form whatever opinion you want while watching this docuseries. You want to think that LeBron is the GOAT? Fine, go ahead, it is your opinion and you are entitled to it. However, I hope that watching this gave you more respect for Michael Jordan and that era of the NBA.