The Last Dance

Writer: Scott F.

Visual: Raina H.

Editor: Keitaro H.

 With the sports scene on pause as a consequence of COVID-19, it is a difficult task to entertain the viewers who love the experience of live sports. Luckily for them, a recent sports documentary mini-series called, “The Last Dance” recently premiered on Netflix. This mini-series showcases the narrative that is Michael Jordan’s final season with the Bulls in 1997-98. 

The unique aspect of the documentary, other than the riveting story of MJ completing the second three-peat of his career, is that it contains never before seen footage from the historic season and additionally, reignited emotional and heated debates throughout the sports world. NBA celebrities, including basketball legends Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley, along with basketball lovers on social media, have been discussing their thoughts and opinions regarding the documentary. Both big man Hall of Famers never achieved a championship title in big part due to the seemingly unstoppable force that was Michael Jordan. Patrick Ewing has been quoted saying, “I watch a little of it [The Last Dance], then I shut it off to go do other things. I lived through it. I don’t need to watch. I know he’s great.” (via cbssports) This is coming from a man whose pain is showcased in “The Last Dance”. The other ringless big man, Barkley said, “…Michael just outplayed me. That was probably the first time in my life that I felt like there was a better basketball player in the world than me…” (via @clutchpoints on Instagram).

Michael Jordan not only left a huge impact on his fellow NBA athletes but a whole generation of basketball fans. Here at ISM, one of our HS basketball coaches, Mr. Hefte, had the chance to witness the greatness of MJ. When asked about the impact of Michael Jordan on the basketball world, Mr. Hefte admitted that at first, he was skeptical on Jordan’s game style as he said, “The Celtics were the epitome of team basketball and I loved watching them play, so when the Celtics kept beating the Bulls, I was happy.” He later noticed a change in MJ’s game style, “I felt like he changed his game in order to win.  Instead of just being the best talent in the league, he became the best talent, plus he made his teammates better.” This team driven success allowed Mr. Hefte and the rest of MJ’s generation to come to the realization that, as Mr. Hefte believes, “No one wanted it more and it just showed on the court, he was the best player to ever put on a pair of basketball shoes.”  

In closing, Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player, had a lasting impact on the fans and players of the game. People have always talked about, and will continue to talk about MJ regardless of the show; this recent mini-series is just the latest historical story that sparked conversations between fans. Every week a new episode or two is released on Netflix, giving more insightful stories and exclusive interviews that highlight Michael Jordan and the Bulls’ 1997-98 championship run.  I highly encourage all fans of the game to tune in to the mini-series showcasing the talent of, as Mr. Hefte says, “the best player to ever put on a pair of basketball shoes.”