Reflections from Night Two of The Last Dance
Dennis Rodman is one of the most fascinating professional athletes of all time.
Before I begin, I feel like I need to put out this disclaimer. I was born in 1996, too young to remember any of the Jordan era Bulls. So almost everything I’ve seen in these first two nights have been brand new to me. So with that in mind, I continue with my reflection on the second night of the five-night phenomenon.
Well, that was pretty awesome. The first episode of last night’s slate was sort of a condensed version of the Rodman documentary ESPN released a few months ago. That’s not a bad thing. Dennis Rodman, in my opinion, is one of the most fascinating professional athletes of all time. Off the court, he’s obviously a supernova — the outfits, the partying, the girls. Rodman was a nonstop show that modern NBA Twitter wouldn’t be able to handle.
On the court, he played the game perfectly. He knew his role, embraced it, and did it better than anyone else could have. His highlights were incredibly fun to watch last night and obviously ESPN continued to nail the soundtrack to these ’80s and ’90s highlights. Hearing Gary Payton call Rodman “the fuck up person” was the perfect description for Worm. And watching him do just that on the court was awesome.
Just like in his documentary, it was obvious Rodman was a lot to handle. Phil Jackson‘s greatness was on full display last night as he learned to deal with him. Twitter loved the 48-hour trip to Vegas, which was obviously risky but seemed to do just the trick to get the best out of Rodman.
I was also ready to write about how Jerry Krause deserved a lot of credit for bringing Rodman on board, but it seems as though Jim Stack, then an assistant to Jerry Krause, deserves a lot of the credit for taking a chance on Rodman.
Outside of the Rodman stuff, seeing Jordan hit that shot over the Cavs was awesome. Doug Collins seems like he would have been a lot of fun to watch coach, but as mentioned above Phil Jackson is the GOAT. Also, Jackson’s stories about coaching in Puerto Rico were legendary and possibly the best part of the episode.
Besides Rodman, the best part of last night’s event was the coverage of the Bad Boy Pistons. As someone born in ’96, I didn’t realize quite what they were about. I was getting mad just watching the highlights, if that’s what you want to call them, of how they played. But the story of triumph really illustrates the greatness of MJ.
Coming home after losing to them for the second year in a row and bulking up out of sheer hatred which led to sweeping them the next season is GOAT stuff. It also led me to reflect on other terribly annoying Detroit sports teams, such as the one the Blackhawks beat en route to their second Stanley Cup. Detroit really has a remarkable ability to build terrible and annoying teams.
Just like for Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan‘s greatness was obviously on full display last night as well. Doug Collins reeling off all the awards Jordan won while he was coaching him was incredible. For Jordan to be that all-around dominant, winning MVP and DPOY awards, is really unbelievable. But perhaps nothing illustrated his greatness more than his transition while playing under Phil Jackson.
For a player such as Jordan to evolve from a one-man show to a fantastic teammate is something you almost never see anymore. His dedication to improving those around him instead of leaving or getting mad is truly what made Jordan so great. When the going got tough he didn’t leave or quit, he became the best teammate he could. That’s truly rare air.
Last night was quite an event and I’m sure I’ve left a lot out. But this documentary has been an awesome reprieve from that’s everything going on. Though I wish I binge-watch the entire series at once, parts five and six should be worth the wait come next Sunday night.