Biggest Takeaways from Ep. 7 & 8 of “The Last Dance”
The Last Dance is a 10 part documentary series that covers the Chicago Bull’s 1998 season. The historic season began under the pretense of the team likely disassembling the next year. I highly suggest watching the previous episodes if you haven’t yet.
Last night the seventh and eighth episodes of the series premiered and continued to deliver quality content. These episodes cover a fair amount of topics, so check out my below list of the biggest takeaways from each of last night’s episodes.
(Check out this other HypeFresh article for a review of Ep. 5 & 6)
5. MJ and His Dad Were Best Friends
The two latest installments of The Last Dance really go to show just how close Michael Jordan and his father James were. It would seem that James was beside MJ the entire time. Providing great advice and a positive influence for Michael to look towards. You can even see James sitting with Jordan right after he won his first championship with the Chicago Bulls in 1991.
4. The Media Blamed Jordan After His Dad’s Passing
The passing of James Jordan was a random and tragic event. Sadly in the summer of 1993, James Jordan was fatally shot during a robbery while in his car. This was obviously a horrific event for MJ.
Unfortunately, the media did what it does best at times and went for the low blows. Multiple media sources pointed to MJ’s gambling habits as being linked to his father’s death. There was zero evidence to support these claims.
3. Nobody Expected Jordan to Retire in 1993
The entire world was taken aback when Michael Jordan decided to retire in 1993. He was the best basketball player in the world and had just won three straight championships, showing just how great he really was. It would seem that nobody really understood why he would retire when he was at the top of the game.
But all of his accomplishments were actually why Jordan felt comfortable retiring. This episode showcases just how drained Jordan was after the winning 1993 championship. MJ felt he accomplished what he needed and was now free to do what he wanted. I’m sure that his father’s passing and the media’s reaction only furthered his desire to retire from basketball.
2. MJ Had a Chance at Playing in The MLB
I was not alive at the time, but looking back I always wondered how talented Jordan actually was at baseball. This episode makes it clear the MJ had a true passion for the sport. Jordan played baseball up until he was 17. But when he was playing for the Chicago White Sox AA team, he was 30 years old.
This much time off is sure to affect anyone. Like usual, the media was quick to attack Jordan when he was down. Sports Illustrated went even so far to say that he was an embarrassment to baseball. But this wasn’t the only opinion out there. The White Sox team owner stated that if MJ had stuck with baseball he could have made it to the MLB.
1. Was MJ a Nice Person?
A point of discussion throughout the series and the seventh episode specifically, is the question of whether or not Jordan was a nice person or teammate. Michael Jordan had a desire and skill to win that was unmatched. He was willing to do whatever it took to win even if that meant offending some people along the way.
Jordan expected a certain standard from himself and the people he played with. It might not have been done in the nicest ways, but MJ was just pushing his teammates to be better. Take Scotty Burrell and Steve Kerr for example. They took MJ’s intensity and embraced it, and were able to do some winning along the way because of this.
3. Jordan wasn’t at 100% Upon His Return in 1995
After 21 months away from the game, Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls in the later part of the 1995 season. The Bulls were struggling without Jordan, and his return was quickly felt in a big way. This was too quick of a return to the game though.
Jordan had spent the previous year and a half dedicating his body to baseball, which requires different things in comparison to basketball. Even MJ is human though. He was able to lead Chicago to the 1995 Conference Semi-Finals but lost the Bulls fell to the Orlando Magic.
2. MJ Used the 1995 Loss in the Playoffs as Motivation
After a surprising loss to the Magic in 1995, Jordan returned with a burning vengeance. The payoff from Jordan’s motivation that summer was clear. During the 1996 season, the Bulls went to set the record for the most wins in a regular season with 72. Check out some highlights from the historic season below.
The domination continued into the playoffs. This year the Bulls were a much more complete team. They met the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals for a rematch. Things were much different this time. The Magic were swept in the series.
1. MJ Won the 1996 Championship For His Dad
The 1996 NBA Finals featured the Chicago Bulls versus the Seattle SueprSonics. The Sonics were led by stars Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton. Many expected the finals to be a complete blowout but the series ended up going to game six. Payton accounts for this by great play on his part. Whereas Jordan cites having other issues on his mind. The final game of the 1996 NBA Championship took place on Father’s Day.
It would only make sense that MJ’s dad would be on his mind during these times. James was always there with Michael, so competing in a final without his dad would be a new thing. Never the less having the game take place on Father’s Day. Jordan had to be filled with emotions, but did what he is known best for and won once again. After the win, Jordan took to the stage to dedicate the championship to his dad.
This documentary series gives some great insight into the life of the greatest basketball player of all time. The Last Dance reveals that the road to victory was hard fought for. Tune into ESPN this upcoming Sunday to witness the final installments of the show. Episode nine will be airing at 9 PM EST, proceeded by the tenth and final episode at 10 PM EST.
What do you guys have to say though?
What has The Last Dance revealed that you didn’t expect? What were some of your favorite moments from the most recent episodes? And what do you expect from the conclusion of the series this upcoming Sunday?