“The Last Dance” Episodes 1 and 2 Recap
Written by Preston Ekdahl on April 19, 2020
That’s right, ESPN has finally shown a piece of original programming that had the world collectively on the edge of their seats as they premiered the first two episodes of, “The Last Dance”; a documentary showing behind the scenes footage of the 1997-1998 season which was the 6th title in 8 years for the Chicago Bulls. The first two episodes gave a great backstory to the team from management down and man oh man does Jerry Krause get eviscerated throughout. Jerry Krause was the general manager of the Chicago Bulls following the 1984 draft of Michael Jordan and made several pivotal trades that helped the team sustain their greatness throughout the 90’s but like many dynasties nothing lasts forever and the 1998 championship year would be the last for the Chicago Bulls.
I was lucky being born in 1990 in Waukegan, Illinois that I was able to see and remember some of these classic moments. I’ll always remember Jerry Krause as a child because we would often take long drives into the suburbs of Chicago and often would drive past Carson’s Prime Rib & Steaks and my father always mentioned that Krause and the rest of the Bulls executives would feast in that restaurant. I also recall driving past Michael Jordan’s house in Highland Park quite often as well. Luckily, I remember some games of Michael Jordan and how special he was and for the younger generations seeing him put up 63 points against the Boston Celtics might seem commonplace in today’s NBA but at the time, what Michael Jordan was doing with the dearth of talent surrounding him was otherworldly on a nightly basis. The first episode went through the trouble behind the scenes which was made public as the years went on from players and fans. They even include a clip of Jerry Krause telling Phil Jackson that, “It doesn’t matter if you go 82-0, this will be your last year coaching this team” which signaled the end of the dynasty.
Through the first two episodes of the documentary, we go through the backstory of Michael Jordan through growing up in rural North Carolina up until that last year where the team struggled to get out of the gates. The best aspect of the documentary is those behind the scenes aspects that can never come up in the modern age with the advent of social media where fans are given an almost intimate look in the lives of their favorite players online. They show you Scottie Pippen getting smacked by Charles Oakley just for being a rookie pretty much and that transitions in to Jordan playing golf against Danny Ainge who he was battling in the playoffs that very next day. Those are things that will never be unearthed again because players always show every last move on social media.
Now we all know how this documentary ends with the good and the bad since as previously stated, the Bulls have not been able to win a championship since that 1998 season. That could have changed if Derrick Rose never got injured but that’s a discussion for another day. As it is let’s enjoy this piece of original programming on ESPN for these next 5 Sundays because it does give everyone something to look forward. Also, I can’t end this blog without mentioning the chills I would get watching those WGN Saturday Night games every week with the promo of the Bull smashing some poor bus with the Raptors, Rockets, Celtics logo on it and Jordan just going out and giving out 40 like it was a warm-up at the local gymnasium.
That was life for me as a kid every night flipping between that and WWF/WCW on a weekly basis. They damn well better include the Dennis Rodman vs Karl Malone WCW storyline in this documentary as well because that stands the test of time as some of the most riveting television of all time.
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