Tonight was the 3rd and 4th episodes of “The Last Dance” about the 1998 Chicago Bulls Season and the history of the team and how they came to be in that final championship year. The episodes tonight focused on Michael Jordan’s struggles with the “Bad Boy” Detroit Piston teams of the late 1980’s and how he overcame that obstacle en route to his first NBA championship. Similarly to last weeks show, they shed a light on two key components of that 1998 team which were Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson.
Even though I was only born in 1990, I remember Dennis Rodman being quite the celebrity in the league from his fashion style and more importance to me was his wrestling in WCW during the 1997 and 1998 years. The backstory on Rodman was akin to many you see today with the current players where he grew up in a rough neighborhood and took time to get better and become a star. Eventually, he was drafted to that “Bad Boy” Detroit Piston team and they ran roughshod over the rest of the NBA for years on end. At this point in his career, Michael Jordan was already a household name and putting up ridiculous numbers including averaging a career high of 37.1 points per game in the 1986-1987 season. However, like any good story, there has to be a foil for the star and that foil was the Detroit Pistons. Through several interviews with both players from the Pistons and players from the Bulls, there definitely still seems to be animosity between them with Chicago Bulls forward Horace Grant calling them, “Straight up bitches” at the refusal of the Pistons players to shake the Chicago Bulls hands after getting swept in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals.
The other big backstory was of the Bulls coaching staff where they showed the arrival of Doug Collins who seemed to instill a competitiveness in the rest of the team and of course the bringing on of Phil Jackson. Doug Collins was shown to have a very good relationship with Jordan and elevated Michael’s game to another level by always having the ball in his hands including this huge game winner in the 1989 playoffs against the Cavs. Unfortunately, behind the scenes Jerry Krause was grooming his replacement in Phil Jackson who was going to implement the triangle offense which forced Michael to trust his teammates more to win games.
As we currently know, the triangle offense was an enormous success and without Jordan making key passes to Paxton in not only the 1991 finals but the huge 3 point in the 1993 game 6 finals to seal the victory over Phoenix, who knows how many rings Jordan ends up winning? If you think zero, you are clueless because his competitive nature alone would have willed whatever team he had to one championship.
That’s it for this weeks episodes of “The Last Dance.” It looks like next week will focus on the 1992 Men’s Olympic basketball team commonly referred to as the “Dream Team” and how Isiah Thomas was left off the roster and I’m sure more backstory on other crucial members of the 1998 roster.
As always keep tuned in to Pub Sports Radio for all your entertainment needs and make sure to visit Southtown 101 to grab a piece of Fiesta while its still available.