On Sunday, ESPN’s 10-part Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” concluded with fans across the globe reflecting on Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ legacy. The Game Haus’ NBA staff weighed in on our favorite moments from the series and what they tell us about the man many call “the GOAT.”
Michael Jordan is the ultimate competitor in the history of professional basketball, possibly in the history of sports. Nowhere in “The Last Dance” is this more evident than at the end of Episode 7 when Jordan breaks down talking about his desire to win.
All the winning and all the stories of his insane work ethic were already proof of his competitiveness, but for him to break down because he cares so much about giving it his all on the court and pushing his teammates over 20 years after the fact puts it all into perspective.
No matter what side of the “GOAT” debate you fall on after seeing this documentary, there is no question that nobody cared, cares or will ever care about the sport of basketball as much as Michael Jordan. That’s what makes him so special.
Episode 7 of “The Last Dance” showed how important the relationship was between Michael
Jordan and his father, James Jordan. Early in the series, Jordan spoke about how he used sports
to gain his father’s attention. Jordan later revealed that his legendary drive had come from his
Jordan’s mother, Deloris Jordan, said James was not just a father but a friend of
Michael’s and reporters shared stories about how inseparable the two were. Following his father’s
murder, Jordan, who had retired from basketball, said he was happy his dad got to see him play
his final game.
In Episode 8, the series brought to life a photo that can now be understood in its entirety; Jordan
wasn’t happy to win a championship for his father, he was devastated that he couldn’t be there to
see him do it.
The image of Jordan collapsed on the ground, uncontrollably sobbing after capturing his fourth championship on Father’s Day shows how important his father was to him.
His post-game interview said it all, when Jordan, fighting back tears, told Ahmad Rashad “I can’t even put it into words, on Father’s Day what it means to me. I know he’s watching…this is for daddy.”
The 1998 Finals was a rematch of the year prior between Chicago and Utah, with Jordan and company trying to cap off their second three-peat, and sixth title in eight years. The season was largely speculated to be their last run together because of ownership disputes (hence “The Last Dance”). The way Game 6 unraveled, specifically, Jordan’s game-winning shot, is such a storybook ending that it’s hard not to get chills from it.
“The Last Dance” sets the scene for the final shot perfectly: Jordan has played heavy minutes while Scottie Pippen deals with a back injury, and only Toni Kukoc scored in double-figures for Chicago. The Jazz, whose duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone is at the end of their championship window, refuse to go away.
The score is 86-85 with 30 seconds remaining and Utah ahead. Stockton passes to Malone in the post, and Jordan steals it from him from behind and takes the ball up-court. Bob Costas makes the call perfectly: “17 seconds from Game 7 or championship number six.”
At the top of the key, Jordan crosses up Bryon Russell and drills a jumper to put the Bulls on top with five seconds left- arguably the greatest shot in NBA history.
The way Jordan’s awe-inspiring last shot as a Bull was retold in “The Last Dance” was the perfect culmination to the documentary series where we saw Jordan’s highs and lows, both on and off the court. Jordan and the Bulls’ run couldn’t have ended in a more storybook fashion.
‘From our Haus to yours’