Night three of The Last Dance brought us some great Dream Team footage, more old beefs, and of course, lots of Michael Jordan highlights set to the best music of the 80’s and 90’s. So, let’s take a look.
The episode opened up with some footage of the NBA All-Star game where the entire East locker room is talking about Kobe Bryant. This is when Kobe was 19 and had yet to make much of a name for himself. It then cut to Kobe talking about the impact that Jordan had on him as a player. This was hard to watch but awesome, and a great way to pay tribute to Kobe before the episode began in full. It set the stage for a great episode.
Most of the episode is spent talking about the ’92 Olympic Dream Team, which is perhaps the greatest talent ever assembled on a single basketball court. The best moment of the episode came when they uncovered footage of a scrimmage that the USA team had before the tournament started. This was 12 of the best players of all time going against each other, complete with trash talk and all. Hopefully at some point the full game gets released. It would be a real treat. But in the meantime, that footage was awesome.
It was also a chance for the documentary to revisit the beef much of the league had with Isiah Thomas. Mike took much of the blame for Isiah being left off of the team, but more reports emerged later that basically no one on the team wanted him. Thomas is pretty clearly still salty about his omission from the team, but honestly he probably deserved it with the way he treated opponents, including the Bulls. His presence was not missed as that team won gold easily that year.
The first episode also dove into the famous Jordan brand and its roots. You know that part probably wasn’t much fun for other shoe companies, particularly Adidas. It’s probable that this episode will reignite the Jordan brand, and will certainly spread the word about what made it so great.
The second episode of the night dove into what it actually meant to be like Mike. Despite the money and fame, it was a difficult life for Mike. Unlike today, stars of those days were not expected to use their platform to make political stands and statements and that found Mike in some trouble. It was an interesting look into the political and racial climate of the time.
Even when the line between right and wrong was fairly obvious, Mike could not stand up for what was right. Watching now, it’s easy to understand why he avoided that kind of spotlight, as it could have jeopardized the image he and his team had spent so long carefully procuring.
It also dove into Jordan’s gambling. His gambling was seemingly a big deal to many. But the theme of the episode was, if you knew someone that spoke about gambling the way he did, you may be concerned. But, with how much money Jordan made, it may not have actually been that big of a deal. It was an interesting look into what came out, that was an attempt to try and tear down the image Jordan had built up.
Jordan faced intense scrutiny and constant questions about his gambling. It was this kind of attention that led to his first retirement. Its not hard to sympathize with Mike and why he chose to retire the first time. Many people look back on that retirement and think why would someone retire at the top of their game, but it was easy to see why.
Video of Jordan celebrating his third title was very illuminating. It was more relief than joy, and all he wanted was to be left alone. Jordan’s schedule and the constant exposure to the media and large crowds would be overwhelming for anyone. It’s not surprising looking at it now to see why he called it quits.
Sunday’s episodes were two of the better ones in the series. It really dove into who MJ was and the life he led. After two episodes that focused on what was going on around MJ, it was fun to have some episodes focus squarely on him. The Dream Team footage was obviously awesome as well.
This episode also featured a fair bit more of dunking on Jerry Krause. While many have been critical of that, because of the fact he cannot defend himself, I feel that it adds to the authenticity of the doc to see how these guys feels about him even today. Next Sunday should be great as always!