The first two episodes of “The Last Dance” documentary on Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls set up the drama: GM Jerry Krause was the bad guy, the GM with the big ego feuding with Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen, and Jordan, and the Bulls will only overcome this thanks to the legendary talents of Jordan.
That’s just not exactly how Toni Kukoc remembers it.
Kukoc, still a consultant to Jerry Reinsdorf and the Bulls, told K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago that he hopes the future episodes of the show don’t dwell on the negativity.
“I’m hoping the other episodes are brighter and more of a celebration of basketball instead of who is guilty or to blame, and why didn’t they win eight championships or 10,” Kukoc said in a phone interview. “The world was so happy when that was happening. So I don’t know what people are mad at…
“I cherish the things we did in practice, that we did on the road,” Kukoc said. “That team worked so hard and was committed and devoted. We’re talking about people who won six championships in eight years and we’ve got to find a way to find a dark note?”
Expect more negativity and focus on the drama — that’s what people tune in to see.
We are all guilty of it, fans and media (if we should be guilty at all). We talk about the drama around the Golden State Warriors of the past five years, of how Kevin Durant never felt at home on Stephen Curry‘s team and the tension between Durant and Draymond Green. There is little celebration of the beautiful, high-level basketball those Warriors teams played, and how they changed the game.
Don’t blame that entirely on the media. If we here at NBC Sports put together a well researched and written story with video about how we need to appreciate the beautiful basketball of the Warriors, then put that story next to one about the Durant/Green drama, we all know the story with all the conflict would get all the clicks. Fans gravitate to the conflict, they want player movement for the sake of player movement, and they want to say how they don’t want those things. The media feeds them a steady diet of it.
Kukoc is right. We should appreciate those Bulls for what they are, one of the NBA’s great teams. Those Bulls are in the pantheon of the very best we have ever seen on the court. That should be celebrated.
Just expect the documentary to follow the drama.