Oct. 14, 2020
There will never be another “Last Dance”
With no games to watch, the NBA world’s attention has been focused on “The Last Dance,” that incredible documentary about the Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Bulls. There has been some controversy about how it treats certain individuals such as Jerry Krause, but such things are inevitable with practically any historical documentary. The Last Dance is undoubtedly a masterpiece which has helped create a resurgence of interest in the GOAT, as well as his sneaker.
But what about the future? Could there be another Last Dance documentary in 10 to 20 years? Success always breed imitators, and could there be an imitation with the Warriors or the Cavaliers or another team down the line?
The Right Circumstances
If there is going to be a second “Last Dance,” what would be the right team? There are three teams which I have seen thrown out as choices. The Miami “Heatles” of LeBron, Wade, and Bosh. The subsequent Cavaliers trio of LeBron, Kyrie, and Kevin Love. Or the Warriors run, with a particular focus on the team after Kevin Durant joined them. I sit on the lonely island of wanting a “Last Dance” documentary on San Antonio’s ridiculously long stretch of success, but know that will never pass.
We can start by knocking two of those three contenders out of the way. The Cavaliers were certainly filled with drama, but it is doubtful whether fans would really follow a multi-part drama about a team which won just one championship and lost multiple times to the Warriors in convincing fashion.
And while Golden State put together arguably the most dominating stretch ever since Jordan’s Bulls, Durant and Curry do not grab people’s attentions in the same way that LeBron does. Both of course are great players, but no one has either in the “greatest of all time” debate like fans today endlessly discuss Jordan versus LeBron. Steve Kerr also observed to The Athletic that journalists did not get the same access to the Warriors that existed with the Bulls in part due to the upcoming free agency of Durant.
This leaves the Heatles as the most likely candidate. There is plenty of good material to cover. Fans watching a documentary 10 years from now will likely be amazed at the sheer fury that accompanied LeBron’s “Decision.”
But something which made that last 1997-98 season so unique was that the Bulls players knew from the beginning that this was the last season, even if Chicago won the title. A good drama series is almost defined by its finale (see: Game of Thrones), and that knowledge was a factor in why Jordan gave such unprecedented access according to The Ringer.
Would the Heatles close out the drama in 2014, when the “Beautiful Game” Spurs eviscerated them in five? Or would they choose to close things in 2013 and pretend 2014 would happen? Furthermore, LeBron likely did not allow such access because he had no way of knowing for sure at the start of the 2013-14 season that he would be leaving Miami by the end with a brand new leather sofa made in the USA.
Perhaps at some point down the line, there will be a documentary made about LeBron’s Heat, or even one of the other dominant teams of the 2010s. But Jordan’s Bulls had their own unique narrative, punctuated with the most famous shot in NBA history, that makes them a unique topic to cover in any documentary.