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Michael Jordan Bulls’ Great Documentary Released
In the absence of real live sports, it’s the hottest topic among sports fans right now. The last dance – the long-awaited 10-part documentary about the Chicago Bulls’ 1980s and (more) Michael Bulls teams from the 1980s – was released today in Canada. The first two episodes are now available to everyone on Netflix, and two more will be released every Monday for next month.
I saw the top five, so (without spoiling it too much) here’s an idea of what to expect and some things that stood out:
1. Many people call it “Michael Jordan’s documentary”, but it’s not really that.
“The Jordan Bulls documentary” would be more precise. Basically, the series tells the story of the rise and fall of one of the greatest sports dynasties of all time – from the arrival of Jordan as an NBA rookie in 1984 to the disintegration of the team during the tumultuous 1997-1998 season, when the Bulls nevertheless won their sixth championship in eight years.
Obviously, Jordan is the main character, and the first five episodes are all largely on his personal rise. But the series also makes detours to someone or something else in its orbit. In episode two, it was injured right arm Scottie Pippen. In three, this is Dennis Rodman’s bouncing / partying machine. In four, it’s coach Phil Jackson. Episode 5 covers the 1992 Olympics (including the legendary dream team scrum in Monte Carlo) and Jordan’s “other” career as an endorsement giant (including his famous “Republicans” buy sneakers too ”). Each of these chapters could be its own documentary, so sometimes they feel a little rushed. But you still get a pretty good overview of the forces that drove the Bulls dynasty.
2. This last season ’97 -98 is the story.
Each episode turns back in time between these detours and the fateful last season (with the late Chicago general manager, Jerry Krause, immediately embodied as the villain). Obviously, we know how it will end, but one of the striking things is that everyone at the time seemed to know it too. The title of the documentary is actually what Jackson named the season before the start. He even printed it on the little manuals he gave the players on the first day of training camp. It is therefore clear to everyone involved that the dynasty is collapsing, brick by brick, in slow motion. And no one seems able or willing to do much.
3. The backstage pictures are good.
It was one of the big “wins” for director Jason Hehir and his filmmakers – a treasure trove of never-before-released bands from an NBA film crew that got generous access to the Bulls for the entire Last Dance season. So we can see things like Jordan and his teammates having passionate discussions on the bench, talking and joking (and swearing) in the locker room or on the bus.
It’s interesting to see them in their natural habitat. NBA players today give us the illusion of access with idealized snapshots of their “real” life that they post on social media (in fact, this is how everyone uses social media social). But most of the behind-the-scenes footage of the documentary doesn’t really seem filtered, although sometimes the Bulls seem aware of the camera.
4. The other big advantage was Jordan himself.
Nobody knew how it would go. Like many wealthy and famous people, he has always been very careful about what he says in public. But whether it’s the right time, the topics (himself, basketball) or the questions, Jordan is quite revealing and engaging in the first five episodes. Sitting in his Florida waterfront home, in its swollen average state, with a whiskey and a cigar by his side, there are times when it feels like Jordan is just telling stories to a old friend. He says funny things. He repeats old grievances. He tells us what he thinks of former teammates and rivals (loved Rodman, hated Isiah Thomas). He drops F-bombs.
It will be interesting to see if Jordan stays that open when we tackle the tough stuff – especially the murder of his father, which drove him out of basketball for a year and a half to try baseball. But so far, it works.
5. It’s great to watch Jordan play basketball again.
His character was so heavily – and carefully – marketed at the time that it is fair for young basketball fans to wonder what percentage of his size is actually real. But the old game footage in the documentary is a reminder that Jordan’s stardom was built on a solid foundation: he was an electrifying basketball player. At a time when tall men with low poles still roamed the earth, Jordan crossed them, hovered over the edge, tossed huge dunks … his game was ahead of his time, so he still stands.
The highlights of his early seasons are particularly fun to watch – like the time he led his upgraded Bulls into Boston garden for a playoff game with the famous Celtics in 86 and lost 49 and 63 (!) Loss Points consecutive. Or when he burned Cleveland and nailed “The Shot” to win another famous series in 89.
6. Conclusion: the document is worth watching.
Because of its length, its iconic main subject, and the hype surrounding it, the natural comparison for The last dance is 2016 O.J .: Made in America. But it’s not at that level. Ezra Edelman’s O.J. brilliantly answers the questions “Who is O.J. Simpson and how did he become O.J. Simpson? “By turning over every stone of his life and his environment. In the end, you end up with a rich portrait not only of the man himself, but also of the many things that shaped him – heavy stuff like the legacy of racism and police brutality in Los Angeles. Whatever your assumptions about Simpson getting into the doc, he challenges them. The last dance doesn’t do that (at least not in the first five episodes). He mainly accepts Jordanian mythology and presents it in a fresh and attractive packaging. This relies quite heavily on nostalgia. But it’s a fun watch and an entertaining reminder of a simpler and better time in sport and in the world. It may be the documentary we need right now.
Someone just paid US $ 216,000 for an autographed jersey that Michael Jordan wore at the 1992 Olympics. Even more staggering, this is not a record for a Jordan jersey. Reportedly, one of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics – just after being drafted by the Bulls – has already raised $ 274,000. The 1992 jersey auction started at $ 25,000, according to the auction house that sold it. Certainly, the release of the documentary did not affect the sale price.
Novak Djokovic would prefer not to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The world’s # 1 tennis player was asked what he would do if vaccination (when available) was made mandatory for travel and / or touring. He said: “Personally, I am against vaccination and I would not want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to travel”, before adding that he might change his mind along the way. It may be a moment. All professional tennis tournaments have been suspended until at least mid-July, but most experts say a vaccine will likely not be ready until at least 2021. So if tennis is able to return this year he will (like other sports) probably take other action. Read more about Djokovic’s comments here.
Alphonso Davies has obtained a contract extension. The rising Canadian soccer star added two more years to his contract with the best German club at Bayern Munich, which now controls him until June 2025. Davies, 19, has played 31 games with Bayern this season, and he impressed many people with a good performance in a Champions League match against Chelsea in February. Davies will also be a key part of the Canadian national team’s campaign to qualify for the 2026 World Cup, which Canada is co-hosting with the United States and Mexico. Read more about the new Davies agreement here.
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