Are you ready for the Last Dance?
The "Last Waltz" was a great documentary about The Band, directed by Martin Scorcese in 1978. That was focused on their last concert in San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day in 1976. The "Last Dance" covers the Chicago Bulls' 1997-98 championship season and mainly Michael Jordan.
This will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN 2 (a more PG version) and after an attempt to cover H-O-R-S-E through I-Phones, this should get a lot more eyeballs for the struggling network. This was expected to be shown in June, but was moved up to Sunday, April 19 for the first two hourlong episodes to give people stuck in their house a chance to watch something other than old series on Netflix and other various channels.
The producers of this doc were able to go through hundreds of hours of film and show Jordan, coach Phil Jackson and the players in not just game footage, but in practice and behind the scenes.
To a lot of people who grew up in the eighties and nineties, Jordan epitimized the word "greatness" and "winner" in basketball and his image was used to sell shoes, underwear and every other product under the sun. But he wasn't very outspoken on other issues and was kind of an enigma in a lot of ways. Why did he retire and decide to play baseball? What about his issues with gambling? What drove him as much as any athlete who ever laced them up?
Obivously the gambling issues will probably not creep up too often in the documentary. Personally, I didn't care if he gambled a lot. It was his money and he had a lot of it. As long as he didn't become Pete Rose and bet on the NBA, it wasn't that big of a deal.
What I'd like to see is something revealing. Jordan was a difficult teammate, who probably wasn't that likable. Really? Tell us something we didn't know. What made him tick? What about the impact of his father's death? Was it all about his previous failures that drove him? Did he have a sense of humor? Apparently producer Mike Tollin and director Jason Hehir address those questions in this documentary.
It's intriguing that the doc will also get into the comment that "Republicans buy sneakers too,". The implication was that Jordan didn't want to get too political, back one candidate over the other so to not sound divisive. That comment had to be more than about Jordan's favorite color being green.
Jordan will be the focus and he should be. But if he was Batman, what about Robin? Scottie Pippen was more of a soft-spoken player with incredible physical attribute. He and Jordan fueled that defense and then you add Dennis Rodman
You don't have to be a fan of Jordan and that Bulls' dynasty to appreciate his greatness, the mind games of Jackson and some of the characters on that squad. The fact that we have a 10-part series to relive that one season is exactly what our sport-deprived society needs at this time.