The documentary is definitely picking up as tonight’s episodes of “The Last Dance” covered Jordan’s life post his initial 3-peat run and led all the way up to his return and 4th championship over a game Seattle Supersonic team. Episode 7 begins in a somewhat tragic matter as they document the events surrounding and leading to the death of Michael Jordan’s father in North Carolina. At the time, Michael was already contemplating retirement and had even remarked to a journalist last year during the Dream Team run that once he gets that 3rd title that he was gonna hang them up and call it quits. As we all know, the Bulls do indeed win that championship and following the loss of his father, Michael decides to retire and attempt a baseball career. If there’s one thing I know is that baseball might be the difficult sport to pick up and play and while Jordan had been a player in his younger days, he was going to have some difficulty with it. He signed a contract with the Birmingham Barons and played at the Double-A level during the 1994 season.
As Michael was playing baseball, the show went on and the Bulls were tasked with defending their title that year sans Mike. However, this seemed to elevate the play of the rest of the team and in turn Scottie Pippen went from a great number 2 player to a legitimate number 1 as the Bulls went 55-27 and were right in the thick of it in the east. The Bulls had talent but were missing their leader and eventually fell to the New York Knicks in 7 games but not before Scottie Pippen put Patrick Ewing on a poster.
There was a strike going in to the 1995 baseball season, no pun intended, as the MLB was asking replacement players to play for their Major League affiliates. Since Michael Jordan was on the Birmingham Barons, he would have played for the Chicago White Sox but he made it well known that he was not going to do that and decided to leave baseball. As this is happening, the Bulls are struggling as they had lost key contributor Horace Grant that summer to the Orlando Magic who were the young upstarts in the league lead by burgeoning talents Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway. No less than 2 weeks after leaving baseball, Jordan decides to return to the Chicago Bulls for the end of the 1995 season. Perhaps it was a case of too little, too late but the Bulls were defeated in the second round of the playoffs by that Magic team thanks in part to this crucial steal by Nick Anderson in game 1. Nick Anderson would get his comeuppance in the NBA Finals that year.
After this loss, Jordan signs on to film “Space Jam” and in the process of filming demands that they build a full scale court and gym for him to work out in. You can’t say no to Mike so he gets it and recruits all the young players from around the league to come out and play him. This sped up his recovery process to get him back in basketball shape and that 1995-1996 season featured perhaps the best team in NBA history as the Bulls went on a rampage thanks to the signing of Dennis Rodman and the continued growth and development of their other players including Toni Kukoc and Steve Kerr that they went on to win at the time, a record 72 games with only 10 defeats. As they continued to run roughshod over the East in the playoffs, they inevitably met up against the Orlando Magic and swept them without much difficulty. This led to a Finals appearance against the Seattle Supersonics who they dismissed in 6 games. It must be said though that in the documentary Gary Payton seems to think they would have won that series if Coach George Karl switches him on to Mike before they got down 0-3. We may never know but I have a sneaky suspicion that that doesn’t change the outcome because George Karl snubbed Mike before the series even started and if there’s one thing this documentary shows, it’s that you don’t piss Michael Jordan off.
Michael had done it again as he led his team to a 4th title but there was more to be accomplished and with next week being the last 2 episodes of the documentary, I’m sure we will delve more in to the rivalry with the Utah Jazz. I can only hope there is at least one segment on Malone vs Rodman in the WCW ring, because that will make my day.
As always stay tuned in to Pub Sports Radio for all your entertainment needs and make sure to catch the Talkin Hands crew as they have been live streaming the UFC fights. If you are betting the fights, there’s no better guys to help you put that money in your pocket.