The Last Dance

This is a TV series on DVD produced and written by ESPN about the 1990’s era Chicago Bulls NBA team which many consider the greatest basketball team of all time. It is rated 9.1 on IMDB. It combines a number of subplots and theories about the Players, Owner, Coach, and General Manager, and, of course, the Star Michael Jordan while jumping back and forth from Jordan’s beginning at North Carolina University to the 1998 final game of the Bulls second “Three-peat” then back to the first Three-peat and other years in between. This approach is at least distracting and for me very irritating, unnecessary and confusing. 

Most of the story revolves around Michael Jordan with a lot of actual film and personal comments. Perhaps the best part of the series is insight into Jordan’s family, in particular his relationship with his father. Unlike some modern families Jordan had both parents and several siblings which gave him a stable foundation for success. His parents were critical in his ability to avoid the common excesses and traps of fame. His father was a consummate supporter through his climb to becoming a household name. He attend every game and became Michael’s best friend. He was killed in a criminal burglary assault and it nearly ended Michael’s career, except for the rest of his family and friends who were supportive. 

The greatest common statistic of men in prison is that they had no father. M.J.’s story Is evidence of the devastation of losing a father and the tremendous benefit of having a great father. Jordan commented his life as a superstar was filled with loneliness and forced seclusion created by an invasive public and press. In spite of these things, he was able to avoid drugs, alcohol and the other vices that plague many superstars. Although he did gamble a lot on golf and things other than basketball, he explained it as a means of coping with his unnaturally strong competitive nature and he could easily afford it.

There were many interesting facts that came out as the story popped back and forth for no apparent reason, like Scotty Pippen playing hurt most of the final championship game; Jordan retiring to play baseball, then returning to the Bulls, interesting comments from other Bulls team members, and even interesting comments from many opposing players and Coaches. ESPN tried to exploit tension between the front office and the players, but it seemed strained and uneventful in the larger picture.  Whether you remember those years, this is worth watching and most sports fans would appreciate the inside look at how and where M.J. found the drive necessary to play at such a high level for so many years.

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