In collaboration with ESPN Films, Netflix brought a captivating sports documentary miniseries titled “The Last Dance” to the screen in 2020. This series, directed by Jason Hehir, offers an in-depth look into the illustrious career of basketball legend Michael Jordan, with a special emphasis on the 1997–98 NBA season, his final season with the Chicago Bulls.
The Essence of “The Last Dance”
The series is not just about basketball games and scores; it’s a narrative that intertwines the highs and lows of Jordan’s life, both on and off the court. It provides exclusive footage from a film crew with unrestricted access to the Bulls during that season. This behind-the-scenes look is complemented by interviews with numerous NBA personalities, including Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, Phil Jackson, and Michael Jordan himself.
Airing and Reception
“The Last Dance” aired on ESPN from April 19 to May 17, 2020, in the United States. Internationally, episodes were released on Netflix the day after their US airings. The series garnered widespread acclaim, particularly for its direction and editing. It went on to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards.
The documentary provides a comprehensive account of Michael Jordan’s career and the Chicago Bulls’ journey, leveraging never-before-seen footage from the 1997–98 Bulls season. This pivotal season marked the end of an era for the team under Jordan’s leadership.
Apart from Jordan, the series features interviews with over 90 individuals, some of whom include:
- Scottie Pippen
- Phil Jackson
- Steve Kerr
- Dennis Rodman
- Magic Johnson
- Larry Bird
- Kobe Bryant
- Barack Obama (featured as a former Chicago resident)
- And many more…
The series is divided into ten episodes, each focusing on different aspects of Jordan’s career and the Bulls’ journey. Some notable episodes include:
- Episode I & II
Chronicles Michael Jordan’s college days and early NBA career. It also delves into Scottie Pippen’s rise as one of the NBA’s top players.
- Episode III & IV
It focuses on Dennis Rodman’s impact on the team and the Bulls’ challenges in overcoming the Detroit Pistons in the late ’80s. It also highlights Phil Jackson’s unique coaching philosophy.
- Episode V & VI
Explores the global cultural impact of “Air Jordan” and the 1992 NBA Finals. It also touches upon the scrutiny of Jordan’s personal life, including his gambling habits.
- Episode VII
Delves into the challenges faced by the Bulls in their quest for a third consecutive title in 1993.
“The Last Dance” is more than just a sports documentary; it’s a tribute to one of the greatest basketball players of all time and the dynasty he led. It beautifully captures the essence of Michael Jordan’s legacy, making it a must-watch for basketball enthusiasts and general viewers alike.
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