The Last Dance Parts 5 & 6: Recap, social media reactions

Night Three of “The Last Dance” had its ups and downs, much like that final Chicago Bulls season.

From his gambling to the exclusion of Isiah Thomas from the Dream Team and his choice to stay out of politics, some of Michael Jordan’s bigger warts were on full display in Parts 5 and 6.

But we also got to see the beginning of the relationship between MJ and Kobe Bryant, some outstanding storytelling from Magic Johnson, and Jordan’s quarter-based relationship with some of the United Center’s security staff. Here are the highlights from the most recent episodes of “The Last Dance,” which somehow is now 60 percent complete.

On that security guard

Back on Night Two, Dennis Rodman stole the show, and we all probably could have predicted that.

We’re not sure anyone saw this security guard with the amazing hairdo, coming, though:

That gentleman having the time of his life was a United Center security guard in 1997-98 who apparently did a little bit of wagering with MJ before Bulls home games. The concept seemed simple: the security guard (or guards) would throw a quarter against a wall and try to get it to land as close to the wall as possible. They had as many tries as they wanted, then Jordan had two (or three, depending on how close the quarter was) tosses to try to get his quarter closer.

And in the clip we were showed, our valiant security guard emerged victorious:

Between his fit, his hair, and his trash-talking shrug to the GOAT, we’re all #TeamSecurityGuard.

On Jordan’s gambling

Speaking of gambling, Jordan was (and is) notorious for enjoying the occasional wager. Part 6 of “The Last Dance” dived into Jordan’s penchant for gambling, particularly his stunning trip to Atlantic City during the 1993 Eastern Conference finals (which, come to think of it, kind of casts Rodman’s Vegas vacation from Night Two in a different light).

As Jordan tells it, he needed to blow off some steam after falling behind 1-0 to the Knicks, so his father suggested the two go down to the casinos for the evening. Although some reported seeing Jordan out until 2:30 that morning, His Airness claims he was back in his room by 1 a.m. at the latest.

No matter what actually happened, Chicago lost Game 2, as well; Jordan scored 36 points, but on 37.5% field goal shooting. Then, of course, the Bulls came roaring back to deliver heartbreak to New York, in typical Jordan fashion.

There were also stories of Jordan being in debt to a character by the name of “Slim” Bouler, a golf hustler who was arrested on drug and money laundering charges. During his arrest, federal agents found a $57,000 check from Jordan to Bouler.

And while that might seem like a lot of money, keep in mind that by 1993, Jordan was making $4 million a year on his NBA contract, and he signed a new deal with Nike that same year that would pay out over half a billion dollars over its lifetime.

Still, it might not have been the best idea for Jordan to break his media boycott, which he’d undertaken during the playoffs because of all the questions surrounding his gambling, with Ahmad Rashad by saying he didn’t have a gambling problem … while wearing sunglasses indoors.

On the Dream Team

Poor, poor Isiah Thomas.

The former Bad Boy has become something of a secondary antagonist in “The Last Dance,” behind only the likes of Jerry Krause. In Part 5, Jordan summed up his relationship with Thomas pretty succinctly:

That respect wasn’t enough to ensure a spot for Thomas on the original Dream Team. Instead, the Hall of Famer was famously left off the squad — a decision that’s historically been ascribed to Jordan, although “The Last Dance” made it clear that Jordan wasn’t alone in being reluctant to play with Thomas.

As for those who did make the team, we got a glimpse of the legendary practices held in Monte Carlo, which featured Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley on a team opposite Jordan. When the former squad took an eight-point lead, Magic made the mistake of trash-talking Jordan, spurring MJ to a scoring onslaught that led his team to the victory.

Fast forward to the next summer, and Jordan was taking out Barkley’s Suns in the NBA Finals, denying the Round Mound of Rebound his best shot on an elusive championship.

On Kobe Bryant

It was just a few fleeting minutes in the opening of Part 5, but “The Last Dance” brought Kobe back into our lives on Sunday. The Black Mamba first crossed paths with Jordan during the 1997-98 season, and Night Three began with Jordan talking about Kobe at the 1998 NBA All-Star Game.

In a brief interview segment in the modern day, Kobe stated that he had grown tired of the comparisons between the two, crediting his entire body of work to his “big brother”:

Indeed, those few minutes of Kobe on screen had us all wishing for more — and reflecting on how much we miss the legend.