THE Chicago Bulls, led by the legendary Michael Jordan, are the subject of compelling ten-part series The Last Dance, which continues to delight many more than just basketball fans on Netflix.
The film shows the remarkable impact Jordan (pictured) had on the Bulls, turning an average NBA outfit into one that dominated the 1990s. In particular, The Last Dance focuses on the 1997-98 season, with the Bulls chasing a sixth championship, and one which was also to be the superstar’s last for the franchise.
Told in the main by Jordan himself the documentary begins with the Bulls, under Phil Jackson, celebrating a fifth title in seven years but despite that, questions are being asked about some players and talk of rebuilding raises tensions between the team and general manager Jerry Krause.
Jordan is an impressive storyteller and with the help of archive footage — helpfully the Bulls invited a film crew to document the season — he takes us through his journey from high school in North Carolina to sporting icon.
He joined the Bulls in 1984 as the third pick in the draft and found himself in a team viewed as middle-of-the-road.
Jordan laughs when it’s put to him the Bulls then were, as one headline said, ‘a travelling cocaine circus’, but admits, while he refused to take part, many were more into partying than playing.
As the series moves on we learn more about that legendary side including Scottie Pippen — ‘the underrated Robin to Jordan’s Batman’ — and party-loving Dennis Rodman.
Much is made of Pippen’s contract — $18million over seven years — one deemed so poor, by NBA standards at least, even Bulls boss Jerry Reinsdorf claims he advised him not to sign it. As one commentator puts it: ‘Pippen is as underpaid as underpaid gets’.
As for Rodman, his vital on-court contribution is matched only by the drama he creates off it. Jordan delights in a tale of being dispatched to Las Vegas to drag the showman out of his hotel room after Rodman extended his permitted 48-hour mid-season break. Actress and model Carmen Electra later admits to cowering behind a sofa as Jordan bangs on the door.
A tale of basketball’s most iconic team in their most dramatic season told by the game’s greatest player, this last dance is not one to sit out.