“The Last Dance”, a ten-part documentary from ESPN that showcases the final run of the late 90’s Bulls, has been entertaining to watch. Even if you are not a Bulls or Jordan fan, I highly recommend watching it. Also, what else do you have to watch right now? Just kidding. Episodes 7 and 8 of Last Dance go back to show us Jordan’s retirement, his father’s death, the Bulls season without him, MJ’s comeback, and their 72-10 season.
The people have spoken, as ratings wise, The Last Dance is shattering records. Of course the documentary is, with the current sports landscape, people are starving for any sports content they can get their hands on.
Every week I will be recapping the episode with some of my favorite moments. Here are a few that stuck out:
Last Dance Ep 7 – MJ’s Bond With His Dad
The Last Dance documentary did a great job of really showing off Jordan’s relationship with his father in episode 7. I loved all the moments they showed between the two.
“He was my rock. We were very close.”
The toughest and most touching moment to watch last night was after MJ and the Bulls won that title on Father’s Day. We’ve all seen the iconic photos of Jordan crying on the floor afterwards, but this was the first time we heard the sobbing audio that came along with it.
Anyone that has lost a parent, understands exactly how Jordan was feeling at the time. With every great achievement also comes a bittersweet moment. That raw and emotional footage will always stay with me.
“This is for daddy.”
Jordan’s First Retirement
The documentary did a good job of showing off the scene in Chicago when Jordan announced his first retirement. I remember them even showing the presser in school, which is crazy to think of, even now.
We also got to see Jordan’s foray into baseball. From the looks of everything we saw last night, it was the getaway that Jordan needed mentally if he ever wanted to come back to the game of basketball. As we all know, it worked.
The Bulls’ Season Without Jordan
We got a look at the emergence of Scottie Pippen during the year Jordan was gone. Pip led the Bulls in every statistical category and the Bulls really came together that season to make a deep run into the playoffs.
Unfortunately, we also saw the moment that will always haunt Pippen, the famous 1.8 seconds debacle, where he refused to come into the game for the last shot against the Knicks.
I enjoyed the footage of Cartwright and some of the Bulls after it all went down. The honesty was appreciated. At the end of the day, Scottie made a big mistake and he will always have to live with it. But, as we saw in the documentary, his teammates accepted his apology because that is not the kind of teammate Pippen always was.
Let’s be real, if the Bulls don’t lose to the Orlando Magic led by Penny, Shaq and Horace Grant, MJ would not have come back on a vengeance like he did.
I loved Jordan’s long-time trainer Tim Grover’s appearance and him talking about Jordan’s response to his question about when he wants to start working out once they lost to the Magic. It was a riveting scene and really showed us all how the loss fueled Jordan to come back better than ever.
I also loved seeing the Space Jam dome, the pickup games and MJ’s scouting of his competition.
Episode 7 Best Minute of Last Dance
The close of Last Dance episode 7 might have been the best 1 minute of the series so far. Jordan says “Winning has a price. Leadership has a price.”
Jordan likes to win, so bad that going through everything still gets him to this day. The minute captures the essence of MJ the NBA basketball player. Yes, he was hard on his teammates, but it was for a reason. To get them on his level and to get ready for the “wars” ahead aka the playoffs.
Throughout the episodes Jordan’s old teammates talk about how he was a bully of sorts and we also get a look into the fight that occurred between Jordan and Steve Kerr. Many of his teammates do admit though that Jordan’s leadership style worked and drove them to win those championships. On a side note, poor Scott Burrell.
Usually I only talk about favorite moments, but here are a couple of things I wished they would have jumped more into during episodes 7 and 8:
Kemp was an absolute monster in the Finals against the Bulls in ‘96. Kemp averaged 23.3PPG and 10 RPG, while giving Rodman fits all series long. Last night they only said one line about the “Reign Man”, and I just think he deserved more.
I know this is a Bulls/ Jordan doc, but how come there was no mention of the Rockets winning the title the two years that MJ didn’t. Even one line would have sufficed.
It is crazy to me that there was no mention of the Hugh Hollins foul call that cost the Bulls that Knicks series during the year Jordan sat out. In a moment that still haunts Bulls fans, Hollins called Pippen for a highly-questionable – and unquestionably late — shooting foul on New York’s Hubert Davis with 2.1 seconds left in Game 5, with the series tied and the Bulls leading the game by one. Davis made both free throws, the Knicks won the game and eventually the series in 7.
Anyways, I’ve enjoyed the doc, so I am not criticizing. Those are just a couple of topics that I wish they had time to touch upon. At the end of the day, I know the Director said he had to leave out a ton of footage to get this thing bumped up early, so I will cut him some slack. I hope ESPN releases the extra footage every Sunday from now until forever going forward.
Well, that is it for today and our thoughts on Last Dance episodes 7 and 8. I still can’t believe there is only one more Sunday and two more episodes left. Have a nice week everyone and stay safe!