The Last Dance Episodes 7 and 8 Recap
Ok, let’s get a recap up for The Last Dance Episodes 7 and 8.
I know what you’re thinking.
Woah, woah, woah. Hold on a second. Recap? What happened to Review?
Well, for the “review” I posted earlier today of Episodes 5 and 6, I never included a letter grade.
Now, I could just go back and edit the article to include a letter grade but I will not do that because I am nothing if not a man of integrity.
Therefore, this will be a recap, no more grading.
I really enjoyed tonight’s 2 episodes.
One random anecdote we got during Episode 7 that I had never heard before: MJ got suspended 3 times during the 9th grade??? Would have loved for them to go into some details about what he did to get suspended.
They touched on Jordan’s dad’s murder in the Summer of 1993 and I never knew that Jordan’s dad was missing for 3 weeks before they found his body.
Also, wild that it seems to have just been a random robbery.
Two 18-year olds just walked up to Jordan’s dad sleeping in his car, and murdered him as part of a robbery?
Why not just hold him at gunpoint and tell him to give you his wallet or something?
Just a very weird and tragic story.
The documentary touched on the conspiracy theories around Jordan’s first retirement as well as his dad’s death.
Namely, did Jordan retire because David Stern forced him out of the league due to his gambling and was Jordan’s dad’s murder connected to Jordan’s gambling in any way.
As I mentioned in my last article these theories seem less believable the more you think about them.
There is no evidence of any sort of conspiracy with Jordan’s dad’s murder and a JournalistWhoseNameIDon’tRemember said during the documentary that Jordan had told him during the Summer of 1992 that he wanted to retire and go play baseball.
So it’s no wonder that his dad’s death would only further Jordan’s desire to play baseball which the documentary notes was the sport that his dad wanted him to play growing up.
It was jarring to see one of the greatest athletes of all-time look un-athletic during the baseball highlights where Jordan was misplaying fly balls and swinging through every off-speed pitch.
That being said, hitting .202 with 50 RBIS in AA baseball after not having played the sport for over a decade is pretty remarkable.
Jerry Reinsdorf makes an appearance to say that the reason he continued to pay Jordan’s basketball contract while he played baseball with the Birmingham Barons was because Jordan deserved it and was underpaid for so many years, and made so many people so much money.
I’m sure it had nothing to do with Reinsdorf wanted to keep goodwill between him and Jordan so that if and when Jordan came back to play basketball it would be with the Bulls.
I just get bad vibes from Reinsdorf, guy seems like a phony.
The one story from the 1994 season when Jordan was gone that everyone remembers is Scottie Pippen refusing to go into the game at the end of Game 3 against the Knicks.
What a wild dynamic: Scottie feeling that this was his team and his moment with Jordan gone only to have Phil draw up a play for Toni Kukoc, who hits the game winner, and Bill Cartwright and Scottie Pippen both crying in the locker-room after the game.
I would love to have seen what would’ve happened if Kukoc missed the shot and the game went into overtime. Would Scottie want to go back in? Would Phil let him?
They also had footage of Jordan watching the game in a baseball clubhouse, smiling talking to reporters after the Bulls. Can’t remember if this is after the Bulls lost Game 7 to the Bulls or after they won Game 3 but I can tell you this.
There is no way Jordan wanted the Bulls to do well without him. It’s just human nature.
They were a decent amount of clips of Jordan trash-talking his teammates, particularly Scott Burrell, and Jordan was asked to explain his mentality and approach when it came to leadership.
In a very interesting moment, at the end of Episode 7, Jordan gets the most emotional we have seen him during the entire documentary describing his leadership style and how he would never ask his teammates to do something he wouldn’t do himself. And how he needed teammates who were willing to win at all costs. That was the gist of it and Mike was tearing up before telling the filmmakers he needed a break.
I will have to go back and watch it again but I was very thrown off by Jordan getting so emotional at this point. I would love to know why describing his approach to the game and his leadership tactics got him to almost start crying.
He also pushed back on the idea that he wasn’t a nice guy and that maybe he was a bully/tyrant saying, “Tyrant? Well that’s because you never won anything.”
To me this goes back to the idea that history is written by the victors. The idea that anything that could be perceived as a negative with Jordan, like being a bully towards his teammates, was actually a positive and necessary because that’s what he needed to do to get the team ready to win is questionable to me.
Did Tim Duncan need to do that to his teammates? And if not, was that because he wasn’t a good leader? Did Tim Duncan not want to win as much as Jordan? Or maybe Duncan just wasn’t as much of a douche?
Why don’t we just enjoy great athletes for all their achievements and their mindset of pursuing excellence without pretending that any sin they may have committed along the way was absolutely necessary to give them and their teammates the best chance to win?
I’m sure the Bulls would have won the title in 1996 even if Jordan didn’t punch Steve Kerr in the face.
Episode 8 also goes into a lot of PR excuses for why Jordan and the Bulls lost to the Magic in the 2nd round of the 1995 playoffs.
Jordan put up 31/7/4 on 48/23/80 shooting splits with 2.5 steals and 1.8 blocks per game during the 6 game series.
Seems pretty good to me.
But there’s this narrative that this series “doesn’t count” for some reason because Jordan had come back from baseball late in the season.
I do buy the fact that Jordan wasn’t in 100% basketball shape but to totally discount the Magic’s win is not fair. Maybe losing Horace Grant to the Magic after the 1994 season hurt the Bulls? Maybe the Magic were just the better team.
Episode 8 ends off with the Bulls winning the 1996 Finals against the Sonics.
It was jarring to hear Jordan sobbing on the locker-room floor after they won, overcome with emotion considering it was the first title Jordan won after his dad’s murder.
We have all seen that clip before but how many of us had heard the audio? What an amazing moment.
A viral moment from Episode 8 came when Jordan was watching Gary Payton talk about his defense on Jordan during Games 4-6 of the ’96 Finals.
Jordan laughs off Payton’s declaration that maybe the series would have been different if he guarded Jordan from the start, because Payton played him tough.
It’s no surprise that Jordan dismisses Payton and says he, “had no problems with The Glove” but the fact is that he did.
Clearly Payton slowed Jordan down. Doesn’t mean that Payton guarding Jordan from the start of the series would have given the Sonics the title but let’s not rewrite history.
One final point:
Space Jam is an awesome movie, shut up if you feel otherwise.
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