National Basketball Association

The Last Dance

April 17, 2020

We're almost dancing, folks.

On Sunday, ESPN will air the first two parts of its 10-part documentary entitled The Last Dance. It focuses on the Chicago Bulls' 1997-98 season.

And whaddayaknow, we've got the first five minutes!

Can you tell we're really excited?

Here's everything you need to know about this monumental television event:

Schedule

The ESPN miniseries – which was supposed to air in June but was pushed up for fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic – will consist of 10 hour-long episodes. Episode 1 will air on Sunday night at 9 p.m. EST, followed by Episode 2 at 10 p.m. EST.

The next eight parts will then air over the next four Sundays:

Part 3 – Sunday, April 26, 9 P.M. EST

Part 4 – Sunday, April 26, 10 P.M. EST

Part 5 – Sunday, May 3, 9 P.M. EST

Part 6 – Sunday, May 3, 10 P.M. EST

Part 7 – Sunday, May 10, 9 P.M. EST

Part 8 – Sunday, May 10, 10 P.M. EST

Part 9 – Sunday, May 17, 9 P.M. EST

Part 10 – Sunday, May 17, 10 P.M. EST

In addition, each week, the two episodes from the previous week will re-air at 7 P.M. EST and 8 P.M. EST.

Lastly, each episode will be available on Netflix five hours after it airs on ESPN.

What's it about?

The series will focus on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, led by Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson and featuring Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr and others.

The 1997-98 season would represent Jordan's final year in Chicago and culminate with his sixth NBA championship and sixth NBA Finals MVP, when Chicago defeated the Utah Jazz, led by Karl Malone and John Stockton, in six games in the NBA Finals.

Remember this moment?

Legendary.

Unbeknownst to many, the Bulls front office allowed an NBA film crew behind-the-scenes access during the season. This documentary will feature never-before-scene footage from that year, combined with present-day interviews, chronicling Chicago's quest to its sixth championship in franchise history.

Why should we care?

Do we really need to explain?

Because it's Michael Jordan! The GOAT! His Airness!

Seriously, the documentary is the most-anticipated piece of sports content in a long time. It's directed by Jason Herir, who also directed The Fab Five documentary that aired on ESPN in March 2011, becoming the highest-rated ESPN documentary ever upon its release.

Moreover, Jordan is involved – and that means something.

The GOAT went on Good Morning America on Thursday morning to discuss The Last Dance.

"It was a trying year. We all were trying to enjoy that year, knowing that it was coming to an end ... Phil started off the year by saying, 'This is the last dance.' And we played it that way."

Jordan explains that then-Bulls General Manager Jerry Krause explained to Jackson ahead of the season that this would be his final season as coach. Jordan decided he would not play for another coach, meaning this would be his last year with the Bulls, as well as Jackson's.

In the interview, Jordan and Robin Roberts also reveal that the documentary will feature insight into Jordan's family life and upbringing, meaning we'll be learning more about the GOAT than we ever have before.

The chatter

Believe us – there's a lot of it.

Jordan told Herir that the documentary would make some believe he's a "horrible guy," and Skip Bayless addressed Jordan's concerns on Friday morning, saying that in his estimation, Jordan signed off on the documentary in an effort to remind the younger generation of his true greatness – the greatness Bayless witnessed during his days as a reporter.

"I believe he does get sick and tired of hearing that LeBron James is the new GOAT ... I love [Michael Jordan], but I love the horrible side of him ... You're going to see the guy behind closed doors who was a horrible guy in a great way. That's the side I always embraced."

Michael Wilbon believes that the documentary will have a profound effect on how the younger generation views Jordan, but that those who grew up on him won't learn much new.

"This is not a new concern. We've all known this all the time about Michael Jordan. But there are 35 years worth of people who didn't know and didn't live in the real-time that Michael did these things. Yes, it will color people's thinking about him."

There has also been an excess of hypothetical chatter born out of the upcoming documentary.

For one, should this have been the Bulls' last run at a title? Could they have kept going?

Max Kellerman thinks so – if Krause was out of the equation.

"The famous quote from Krause was 'Players don't win championships, organizations win championships.' Brother, this ain't the NFL. In the NBA, you better believe players win championships."

Another hypothetical that was born – how would Michael's Bulls stack up against some of the other great teams in NBA history?

NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal believes his three-peat Los Angeles Lakers would have beaten the second three-peat Bulls strictly due to his presence inside, but he admits his free throw shooting would have been the make or break element of the series.

"I would have killed Luc Longley, Bill Wennington ... The factor is me and my free throw shooting."

Shannon Sharpe agreed.

"In three Finals, [Shaq] averaged 36 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blocks ... and Kobe had started being Kobe. I'm going to say just because they have Shaq, and nobody would be able to do anything with the Daddy, I'm taking Diesel. I'm taking the Lakers."

Get ready for a great Sunday with the GOAT, folks.

In fact, it might represent the GSOAT – greatest Sunday of all-time.


Get more from National Basketball Association Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more.


share story