Although there have not been many winners in the fight against the coronavirus, Michael Jordan treated it like the LaBradford Smith of infectious diseases: just another obstacle to motivate athletes around the world. The Last Dance was going to be a documentary event under any circumstance, but especially in the absence of live sports, it quickly became a binge-worthy show on Irish Netflix and a weekly obsession in America. It nourished bleak sports pages. It produced an endless collection of clips and quips about Jordan’s on-court exploits and on-camera personality, and multiple trending Twitter topics. It felt like the greatest sports documentary ever produced, particularly in the wake of the global pandemic.
“Jordan’s path to fame and fortune is not only motivating for athletes of any sport, but also provides insight into life as an international sport icon.”
The series is structured around ten episodes that follow Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ journey for their sixth NBA title in eight seasons. The raw and inspiring tale of Jordan’s path to fame and fortune is not only motivating for athletes of any sport, but also provides insight into life as an international sport icon. The Last Dance includes cameos from Justin Timberlake, who recounts memories of the Air Jordans release during his childhood, and Barack Obama, who explains the importance of Jordan to Chicago. Their testimonies show the extent of Jordan’s reach while he was dominating the NBA with Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman by his side.
It would be difficult to ignore Jordan’s passion for the game and securing that last championship for the Bulls. His insurmountable grit is apparent in how hard he pushed his teammates, and the high standards he held them to. In a time when so much remains unknown for sports around the world, seeing how hard Jordan worked to achieve what he did for Chicago could encourage anyone to get off the couch and improve their game.
“Jordan was not a one-man show; he needed to rely on his teammates and coach.”
The documentary does not hide that Jordan was not always someone to look up to and idolise. His association with questionable characters like James “Slim” Bouler, refusal to give public support to Harvey Gantt—the African-American former Democratic mayor of Charlotte—in his controversial Senate race versus Republican Jesse Helms, and alleged gambling addiction are but a few examples of the controversies surrounding Jordan. However, director Jason Hehir gives a well-rounded view of the infamous Michael “Air” Jordan, instead of only focusing on his skills on the court – although a docuseries on those alone would not be a difficult task.
The Last Dance sheds light on how Jordan was not a one-man show; he needed to rely on his teammates and coach Phil Jackson in order to achieve his phenomenal legacy. This is an important lesson to keep in mind amidst the current global situation. Sometimes you have to put your ego aside – and it is apparent that Jordan has one – and work with others towards a common goal.
Watching the docuseries, Jordan’s competitive nature and how well it served him in becoming the athlete he is today is infectious. If you are ever in need of motivation to get on that court or field and work your absolute hardest, this documentary could be the boost you’re looking for – or, for non-athletes, a satisfier of any sports-viewing craving.