Michael Jordan, according to “The Last Dance” director Jason Hehir, feared footage would make the Bulls superstar look like a “horrible guy.”
So far, it’s hard to see why.
Sure, the documentary has shown Jordan saying not-nice things, especially to Jerry Krause. But Jordan – even while ribbing a teammate – mostly comes across as good-natured. He drinks beer with teammates, gives a ticket to a teammate, pitches quarters with security guards.
His Dennis Rodman retrieval story even makes Jordan, contrary to his reputation, look empathetic rather than demanding. “Did you put your body through anything today, Dennis?” Phil Jackson asked Rodman at practice. “You got to put your body through things, so the muscles have a memorization, too.” Jordan replied, “His body made it here, Phil. Don’t beg for too much.”
Perhaps, the tone will change Sunday.
What we tackle in episodes 7 and 8 next week is what it was like to play with Michael and then what it was like to play against him, in 7 and 8, respectively. And the with Michael stuff, man, I don’t know if you would want to practice with Michael Jordan. It would be fun to watch. I don’t know if it would be fun to interact with him during that. Because he is hard. He wanted to make those harder than any game could possibly be. And in the East back in the ’90s, that meant making it as rough and as mentally grueling as possible.
And there’s things in there – there’s language in there that I’m shocked that ESPN let us keep in, and there’s behavior in there that I’m shocked that Michael let us keep in.
We already know Jordan punched Steve Kerr in the face. It’ll take far more for the episodes to meet the high expectations Hehir just set. Hopefully, the show lives up to them.