“The Last Dance” concludes tomorrow, with the final two episodes chronicling the 1997-98 season of the Chicago Bulls, which has a particular emphasis on Michael Jordan’s life and times.
Some might remember the Bulls as a dominant, unstoppable force in the NBA. That wouldn’t be far off considering they won six titles in eight years and set a then-NBA record 72 wins in the regular season in 1995-96. But they did have a few challenges along the way.
Who was the biggest challenge? That’s one of the topics of the upcoming episodes on Sunday.
Have a peek.
The '98 Pacers were tough 😤
— ESPN (@espn) May 15, 2020
“The Last Dance” focuses on the 1997-98 season — Jordan’s final title, the season before he retired — but used flashbacks to weave in the entire Bulls dynasty, and Jordan’s full career. (Click here for more on the first eight episodes.)
Below are the details on when and how to watch, plus some things to keep an eye on in the documentary.
Sunday, May 17
Episodes 9 & 10: 9 p.m. Eastern
TV CHANNEL AND STREAMING
The Last Dance is on ESPN and can be streamed on ESPN.com and the ESPN app. Also, it will be available on a number of streaming services for clients who have paid for the TV/Live service, including Sling, YouTube, and Hulu.
Outside the United States, the show can be streamed on Netflix five hours after the broadcast times.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH IN THE MICHAEL JORDAN DOCUMENTARY
1) All the F-Bombs and cussing you could want
Time to let you in on an NBA secret: Players and coaches cuss. A lot. The best of them at least use the F-word as every part of speech, but swearing is a pervasive part of the culture.
ESPN isn’t editing that out.
At least not on the primary ESPN broadcast. All the swearing, all the expletives, everything will be shown as recorded. No “beeps.”
For people who don’t want to hear that language, the “airplane” version will be broadcast on ESPN2 at the same time. That said, expect a lot of FCC complaints because some people will flip out (for the record, ESPN is a subscription cable network, so curse words are allowed).
2) This is no Jordan puff piece; he was cutthroat and “Last Dance” pulls no punches
Jordan was worried this documentary would make him look like a “horrible guy.” Except, he could be. There is some a****** in MJ. The man punched a teammate in practice — the Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr — and was an overbearing presence. He skipped out on a White House trip to go golfing with a drug lord. This is a documentary in the true sense of the word, which means everyone and everything gets put in a bright light and re-examined.
As a sporting society, we have mythologized Jordan to the point he can walk on water and do no wrong. We gloss over the costs of his style of leadership. The Last Dance does not, it talks about the good and the bad. It paints a true picture.
3) Jordan did not play baseball due to some conspiracy, it was planned out and about his father
After the Bulls first three-peat, Jordan quit the NBA to play baseball. Conspiracy theories have popped up around this decision, because who would walk away on top to struggle in another field? (Plus, if the coronavirus has reminded us of anything, it’s that people love a good conspiracy theory, facts be damned.)
This was about Jordan and his father, who had wanted his son to play baseball and who passed away just before the move. This was about a new challenge and old desires. This was also something Jordan talked about privately for a year before he went public.
Jordan worked hard in Birmingham and the White Sox minor league affiliates, and he might have stayed in baseball longer except 1994 MLB strike — which canceled the World Series that year — put pressure on Jordan as a Spring Training draw in a way he didn’t want, pushed him back to the NBA. And three more rings.