When I was a kid, NBA game nights were the best nights of the week for me, because I got to watch the Chicago Bulls take the court and (most likely) stomp anyone who crossed their path. The Michael Jordan-led team not only made me a lifelong basketball fan, but a lifelong, die-hard, and unswaying Bulls fan. Through bad and good, thick and thin, I will See Red until the day I die.
So, it’s no surprise that The Last Dance—a 10-episode documentary that chronicles the uprising and dominance of that ’90s Bulls team as told by MJ himself—is our (okay, my) pick for Show of the Week. The Last Dance follows the Bulls during the rocky-but-successful ’97-’98 season—the final year of the team’s second three-peat.
But in order to tell that story, you have to go back to MJ’s beginnings, so it jumps back and forth between the ’97-’98 season, Jordan’s rookie year, the first three-peat, MJ’s first retirement, “I’m Back,” and so-on. The Bad Boy Pistons, Dennis Rodman’s insane antics, and all the other drama that goes along with a championship team are all part of this wild ride.
It also features commentary from former Bulls legends like Phil Jackson and Scottie Pippen, without whom there would be no Bulls dynasty, as well as Dennis Rodman, BJ Armstrong, Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, John Paxon, Steve Kerr, and more. Hearing their telling of MJ’s drive to succeed and his work ethic is nothing short of inspiring.
There are so many things to be gleaned about the team, MJ himself, his relationship with other players and the Bulls’ front office, what really happened with the Dream Team and Isiah Thomas, and so much more. I can’t imagine watching this and not being motivated to just do more. It’s incredible.
To further add interest to the series, the aftermath of its airing—which ran over five weeks and concluded just a few weeks ago—has been fascinating to watch. Former players have come forward to call some of Jordan’s claims into question, and Pippen is reportedly “furious” with his portrayal on the series, just to start. There’s still a remarkable amount of chatter surrounding The Last Dance.
In short: this is one of the most inspiring, thoughtful, and amazing shows I’ve ever watched in my 38 years on this planet. Of course, as I said, I’m a lifelong Bulls fan because of that ’90s team, with so many of my childhood memories completely engrossed by the Jordan era.
But this isn’t just a documentary for Bulls fans. Sports fans, in general, will appreciate the story of one of the greatest sports teams to ever exist. And honestly? I think even non-sports fans can appreciate Jordan’s greatness.
Now, let’s just hope they do one on Kobe and his dominant Lakers team.