The Crusader Newspaper Group

ESPN’s “The Last Dance” latest episodes are championship material

By Joseph Phillips, Crusader Sports Writer

The critically acclaimed documentary “The Last Dance,” the story of legendary basketball player Michael Jordan and the 1997-1998 World Champions Chicago Bulls, debuted episodes 3 and 4 on Sunday night, April 26, on the ESPN network. These two episodes focused on the team’s struggles to overcome their biggest rivals in the Detroit Pistons, the growth of Scottie Pippen and the future acquisition of Dennis Rodman in the 1996 season.

With Michael at the helm, the Bulls lost to the Bad Boy Pistons three years in a row from 1988 through 1990. But after mentally folding to the Pistons over the years, the team would finally break through in 1991, after a strong off season that watched Jordan and the Bulls hit the weight room and mature in all aspects of their game. The results of the hard work paid off, as the Jordan-led Bulls became the first team to ever sweep the back-to-back champs.

Prior to that series, Pippen had to overcome questions about a migraine headache that he suffered during the 1990 Eastern Conference Finals, which possibly derailed the Bulls’ chances of advancing to the team’s first ever NBA Finals. Rodman was a part of that Pistons team who helped abuse the Bulls both physically and mentally on the court, but would apologize later for his antics after joining the team during the 1996 season. Rodman helped the Bulls earn a NBA record 72 wins that season.

ESPN took us behind the scenes of a season that marked the end of an era. As coach Phil Jackson and Bulls ownership had already confirmed, it would be the coach’s final season with the team, with Jackson even naming the run “The Last Dance.”

Jordan said he would not play for any other coach after management made the announcement.

Thus, Jackson allowed cameras to follow the team around, documenting every move, every fight, and every ounce of drama throughout the 97-98 season.

ESPN’s 10-part documentary “The Last Dance,” which airs again on Sunday night, May 3 (Part 5 and Part 6), is expected to reveal everything you ever wanted to know about Jordan and the Bulls, who are arguably, the greatest team in NBA history.

According to ESPN, “The Last Dance” was originally set to air this  summer in June of 2020.

However, due to the coronavirus and the coaxing of fans (including some big name ones), ESPN decided to air the documentary early.

Spoiler Alert: The Bulls win the NBA title.

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