“The Last Dance” first four episodes recap and review

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ESPN

The Michael Jordan miniseries documentary aired on April 19, 2020. It tells the story of Jordan's Bulls and all the drama surrounding the team.

The Last Dance is a sports miniseries documentary focused on the incredible career of Michael Jordan. Originally, the series was not supposed to air until June 2, 2020. Due to Covid-19 and the high demand, the miniseries premiered significantly earlier on April 19, 2020. The miniseries has ten episodes, four of which have been released so far.

The first episode was used to set up the story that many NBA fans already know. The episode goes to great lengths to show how prepared Chicago Bulls general manager at the time, Jerry Krause, was ready to blow up a Bulls team that had won titles in five of the last seven seasons. It covers Jordan’s strong dislike of Krause and at times complete disrespect towards him. It also introduces the dilemma of Krause informing at the time head coach Phil Jackson that he would not be allowed to return as head coach next season. The story is set up in a fresh new way using coach and player commentary. The episode put in little to no effort to cast Krause in an at all favorable light, and seeing as he is dead, he cannot offer up his own version of events.

The second episode was the Scottie Pippen story. It covered Pippen’s rise as an average college player to his huge growth spurt and path to the NBA. It showed how Pippen was the Robin to Jordan’s Batman. The episode put great emphasis on how underpaid Pippen was for years. Pippen accepted an $18 million dollar contract for seven years simply because he had come out of poverty and wanted the financial security for his family. This deal would eventually leave him extremely underpaid and lead to great frustration on his end. Later on in the episode, this would come into play as at the end of the 1997-98 season Pippen was at his wits end with Krause. He openly admitted to delaying his foot surgery. Jordan called this move “selfish.” This episode also featured some more amazing Jordan moments including his 63 point game against the Celtics in the 1986 playoffs.

The third and fourth episodes focused on another one of Jordan’s teammates, Dennis Rodman. Rodman was widely known as a huge wild card who enjoyed partying, dyeing his hair, nose rings, and tattoos. It was impossible to ignore his antics especially while he was dating the likes of Madonna and Carmen Electra. He was a strong defensive player and an incredible rebounder for his size. The episode covered Rodman’s backstory and how he rose from poverty to eventually earn his place in the NBA. The episode also emphasized how well Jordan, Pippen, and Jackson understood Rodman’s personality. These episodes also did a great job of showing how Rodman took on the number two role on the Bull’s team while Pippen was out injured. The end of episode four covered Pippen’s return and the Bull’s first championship.

Another big emphasis of these episodes was the amount of agony the Detroit Pistons caused for the Chicago Bulls. Rodman played for the Piston while this antagonization was going on. The Pistons had a defense just for Jordan which mainly consisted of knocking him to the ground anytime he got to close to the basket.

The best part of the documentary so far came in these episodes three and four when Rodman informed Jackson that he needed a break halfway through the season. Rodman was convinced he needed to go to Las Vegas. Jackson thought they should allow him to go for 48 hours while Jordan maintained that Rodman would never come back in time. Jordan was definitely correct as Rodman exceeded his 48 hours. This made for some entertaining content as viewers got to see video of some of Rodman’s antics and listen to other player’s thoughts on the situation.

The first four episodes of this series have been fantastic. The next six episodes are sure to be filled with more never before seen film and interviews as well as many more previously untold stories. You can watch the next two episodes on May 3, 2020, on ESPN.