Michael Jordan ‘Last Dance’ documentary: Episodes 9 and 10 TV channel, time, stream, more

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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 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.

BROADCAST SCHEDULE

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.

Washington Mystics: We planned all along to pay Elena Delle Donne

Washington Mystics star Elena Delle Donne
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Washington Mystics star Elena Delle Donne – per a panel of doctors chosen by the WNBA and its union – doesn’t face elevated risk of severe symptoms if she contracts coronavirus. That meant the Mystics wouldn’t have to pay her if she sits out this season. Delle Donne has publicly argued her Lyme disease should have medically excused her from the WNBA season, allowing her to collect her full salary.

Like many people amid the pandemic, Delle Donne faced a hard decision: Work and risk exposure to coronavirus or miss out on money and stay safer.

The Mystics have solved her dilemma – agreeing to pay her while she remains away from the team.

Mystics general manager/coach Mike Thibault, via Tyler Byrum of NBC Sports Washington:

“She is being paid and is continuing to rehab from her offseason back surgery. If at some point later in the season, we are all comfortable – I mean all comfortable – enough with both her physical progress and the safety of joining the team in Florida, then we will make those arrangements. If we don’t feel that she will continue to do the workouts in D.C., and get herself ready for the following season.”

“We can do anything we want,” Thibault said. “We have intended to [pay her] from the start. She’s a major part of our team and she’s making every effort to do the rehab that she needs to do.”

“I have told her that there is not going to be pressure put on her to hurry back, I don’t want — I’m in this and she’s in this for the long haul,” Thibault said.

If the Mystics truly planned all along to pay Delle Donne, her public-relations campaign the last couple days seems excessive.

But it’s also possible the public pressure she raised contributed to this decision.

As reigning WNBA MVP, Delle Donne had leverage that other players don’t. That’s why I’m surprised this was up to the Mystics. Other WNBA teams don’t want to face increasing pressure to pay any players who want to sit out. That’s why the panel of doctors existed in the first place.

Perhaps, Delle Donne’s back injury gave Washington a workaround. That’s a reasonable excuse for Delle Donne not reporting while still getting paid. Is the WNBA really going to investigate the Mystics’ assessment of their own player’s physical health when the player agrees?

This is a good outcome for Delle Donne. She made herself so valuable to her employer that it’ll pay her not to work. That’s a heck of an accomplishment by her.

We’ll see how much, if any, of a precedent it sets.

Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox out at least 7-10 days with sprained ankle

De'Aaron Fox sprained ankle
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For a Sacramento team with playoff dreams, this is a punch to the gut: De'Aaron Fox is going to be sidelined until around the start of seeding games — 7-10 days at least — with a sprained ankle.

The Kings’ announced that their point guard sprained his left ankle in practice Wednesday. While he will be re-evaluated in 7-10 days, he could be out longer. This is the same ankle Fox sprained in November that caused him to miss 17 games.

The Kings’ first game is 16 days away against San Antonio.

Fox, arguably the fastest player in the league with the ball in his hands, averaged 20.4 points, and 6.8 assists this season, playing at a near All-star level once he came back from the sprained ankle. Fox is the engine of the Sacramento offense, it is 5.2 points per 100 possessions worse when he is off the court.

Sacramento comes into the restart in a virtual tie with Portland and New Orleans for the ninth seed in the West, 3.5 games back of Memphis. However, the Kings have not been able to get their stars on the court together: Harrison Barnes and Alex Len and remain in Sacramento, quarantining after testing positive for the coronavirus. Richaun Holmes is in quarantine on his Walt Disney World hotel room after leaving the confines of the NBA bubble to pick up a food delivery.

All of which combine to make it an even longer shot the Kings end their 14-year playoff drought this season. The sprained ankle for De’Aaron Fox, if it slows him at all, would be a serious blow to those chances.

 

Spurs: Trey Lyles out rest of season (appendectomy)

Spurs forward Trey Lyles
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The Spurs lost their top big in LaMarcus Aldridge.

Now, they’ll lose Trey Lyles, who often started at power forward next to Aldridge and also played behind Aldridge at center.

Spurs release:

Spurs forward Trey Lyles underwent an appendectomy earlier today in Orlando, Fla.

Lyles will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

San Antonio’s last seeding game is scheduled for Aug. 13 – nearly a month away. Theoretically, Lyles could have tried to return by then.

The NBA dodges a complication with the Spurs ruling him out for the rest of the season.

Lyles left the NBA’s campus for his surgery. (Disney World is in Lake Buena Vista. He underwent surgery in Orlando.) That means he faced exposure in Florida, where coronavirus cases are surging. It would have been tricky bringing him back into the bubble safely while not punishing him for requiring medical attention.

The NBA will probably face this conundrum with someone else later. But the league avoids that situation for now.

San Antonio’s problems are more pressing.

Jakob Poeltl is now the Spurs’ top center, but he fits poorly with DeMar DeRozan because they’re both non-shooters from 3-point range. Rudy Gay should see plenty of time at power forward.

Behind them, options – newly signed Tyler Zeller, Drew Eubanks, Chimezie Metu and Luka Samanic – are uninspiring.

Gregg Popovich truly must muster some magic for San Antonio to extend its record playoff streak.

Pelican’s Jrue Holiday donating restart salary, maybe $5.3 million, to charity

Jrue Holiday
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Jrue Holiday isn’t just talking social justice, he’s putting his money where it matters.

Holiday will donate his game checks from the NBA restart in Orlando — which could be as much as $5.3 million — to charitable causes (particularly black-owned businesses hit by the coronavirus) through the new Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Justice Impact Fund he is about to set up.

The Pelicans’ point guard went on ESPN’s “The Jump” live from his bubble hotel room to explain the decision he made with his wife (Lauren is won two gold medals and a World Cup playing for USA Soccer).

“Honestly when it came down to it, it was me and my wife talking about what we could do to kind of further this movement and progression and being able to help out our community and just being able to help,” Jrue Holiday told ESPN.

“We were just kind of sitting in the house, in the bed, thinking about it, and my wife said, ‘I think you should do this and you should do the rest of your salary.’ That’s a great idea. Because we want to make an impact. God has blessed us with so much. We know a couple of things that are important are time and money, and right now, we have both. To be able to give away our money to help further this movement and Black-owned businesses that have taken a hit in COVID-19, to us, it felt like the perfect time and opportunity.”

That is walking the walk. Well done by Jrue and Lauren.