Apr. 21, 2020
Three things we learned from the premier of 'The Last Dance'
The coronavirus quarantine has turned American citizens into documentary craving psychos. First, Netflix's 'Tiger King' took the nation by storm telling the outrageous story of Joe Exotic and his exotic cat zoo in nowhere Oklahoma.
Now, fans have been anxiously waiting for THE sports documentary of the 21st-century in Michael Jordan's 'The Last Dance'. The in-depth documentary from ESPN follows the championship-winning 1997/1998 Chicago Bulls for the entire season and the footage has been held in development for nearly two decades.
Here's what we learned from episodes one and two.
1. Jerry Krause is the new Carole Baskin
Besides Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and head coach Phil Jackson, the focus of the first two episodes was Bulls general manager Jerry Krause and his relationship with the dynasty players.
Krause was in charge of players and personnel from 1985 until 2003 and was a key cog in helping to build the dynasty, but he was also the figurehead that helped to tear it all down and caused a divide in the locker room during the '97/'98 season.
It's safe to say that Twitter has turned Krause into the new Carole Baskin with the amount of backlash he received in the first episode alone.
The most shocking quote from the opening episode was when Phil Jackson told the world that Krause was not going to bring him back as coach in the fall of 1998 "even if he won all 82 games and the championship."
Upon review, the villain in Space Jam, Swackhammer, strongly resembles Krause. Could it be?
2. Scottie Pippen got paid how much?!
The only thing that might be more shocking than Jerry Krause's treatment of the dynasty team was Scottie Pippen's contract with the Bulls and his salary.
The focus in episode two was primarily on Pippen's rise to fame at the University of Central Arkansas where he started as an equipment manager, earned himself a scholarship, and later became the fifth overall pick in the 1987 draft.
MJ says early on that you can't talk about the six championships won in Chicago without mentioning Pippen. If it wasn't for Scottie, the Bulls would not have been as dominant.
What many casual fans - including myself - didn't realize was that Pippen was paid $18 million over seven years during the team's peak.
At the time, Scottie ranked 122nd in the NBA in terms of salary despite being second on the Bulls in points, rebounds, and minutes. He was first on the team in assists and steals but never received the compensation a player of his caliber deserved.
In comparison, while Scottie was being paid just over $2 million a season, MJ was receiving just above $30 million in salary alone.
3. Michael Jordan's obsession with golf
This has been well documented over the years, but what surprised me was the story of Michael Jordan playing golf with Boston Celtics guard Danny Ainge between games one and two of the eastern conference quarterfinals in 1986.
Jordan went toe-to-toe with one of the best Celtics teams of all-time that featured Larry Bird, Bill Walton, and Ainge and still could not be stopped.
After the Bulls lost game one in Boston Garden 123-104, Jordan went golfing with Ainge in during one of the off days.
MJ dropped 49 points in game one and many might've thought that golfing with the enemy before the series was over was a bit strange. It didn't distract number 23 at all.
Jordan dropped 63 in the game two loss just a day after hitting the links with Ainge and took the Celtics to double overtime.
The depth of that Boston team was too much and the C's swept the undermanned Bulls in three games. After the series, Bird sang the praise of Jordan and said he had never seen anything like that ever before.
In the documentary, he elaborated on that praise saying that it wasn't Micahel Jordan out there in game two, it was "God".