Author Topic: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)  (Read 1694 times)

Smeraldina Rima

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The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« on: May 04, 2020, 02:09:52 PM »
This is the four part Netflix series on The Chicago Bulls' 1997-98 season which is made in the style of a murder documentary. Although it focuses on the last season under Phil Jackson when the Bulls were going for a second triple and had cameras following them around in the dressing room, it also has occasional flashback sections looking at Jordan's college years and Pippen's rookie year for instance. So it turns into a great big documentary about the Chicago Bulls dynasty and Michael Jordan. I'm halfway through the four episodes.

There's a good bit which concentrates on Jordan's first injury and his speedy recovery when he was playing with his college team without having told anyone that he'd stepped up his rehab. When he came back to the Bulls he was only allowed to play seven minutes per half because the team doctor said there was still a 10% risk he would make the injury worse and then never play again. Jordan suspected it was also because the Bulls' management wanted to carry on doing badly that year seeing as they weren't in any shape to win a title yet and stood to get a better draft pick in the next season if they didn't make the playoffs. He was reluctantly taken off by the coach with 30 seconds to go in a key game at the end of the regular season but one of the lesser Bulls scored the clutch shot to put them into the playoffs anyway. There's another good section about Scottie Pippen signing a long contract to protect his family just before the sport really took off. He ended up being maybe the second most valuable player in the league but not inside the top 100 earners. There are obviously lots of great clips of Jordan playing through his career. And there's a good line from Steve Kerr early on when he's asked by a journalist what makes this Bulls dynasty unique: 'I guess that what's unique... is that we've got Michael'.

I haven't watched basketball recently - apparently the game has changed and the players have to shoot more three pointers now - but I was a big fan during this period - watching the Channel 4 highlights and full matches; Celtic Pride, White Men Can't Jump and Space Jam; playing Horse in the playground; making the most of the Birmingham Bullets games with star American player Fabulous Flournoy. This documentary is bringing it all back. Swoosh.

Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2020, 04:32:39 PM »
Isn't it a ten part series. By ESPN so Netflix in UK is having weekly episodes updated. Waiting to see it all play-out to see how they finally end up judging Krause.

Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2020, 11:13:54 PM »
It's ten part with 2 episodes a week, I believe. Tried starting a thread about it last week and it died a death.
Have to say I'm loving how weird of a guy Michael Jordan seems in retrospect, the way he carried and carries himself, the absolutely insane levels or regard to which he was held and he's just like... I don't even know how to describe it. Extremely intelligent but quite impulsive, fortunately his intuition is mostly crazily good too?
Did he retire purely because Phil Jackson did? Like, if Jackson went to the Lakers directly from the Bulls could Jordan have followed him for $$$$$$$$$$?

They've done focuses on Pippen and Rodman whilst going through Jordan's career alongside, but it still feels like there's a bit more to the story of each to cover so I wonder if they're gonna cycle back to them...

Would be really surprised if Netflix haven't tried to get the international rights for it , it'd do very well all dropped at once on there after it finishes.



[Jon Bois is doing a series on the Mariners on youtube right now too, if anyone wants more sports doc stuff to check out.]

Dex Sawash

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Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2020, 02:16:43 AM »
And there's a good line from Steve Kerr early on when he's asked by a journalist what makes this Bulls dynasty unique: 'I guess that what's unique... is that we've got Michael'.


In that ellipsis you could see him gathering up pieces of a sports cliche and just dropping it and going with fuckitMike

Smeraldina Rima

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Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2020, 12:48:53 PM »
There was a similar bit in episode 3 or 4 with Doug Collins explaining his tactics for the end of a game... something like tell everyone apart from Jordan to get the fuck out the way. They did a good job of contrasting that medieval strategy with Phil Jackson's teamplay and John Paxson trust.

Sorry for missing the existing thread and the 4 episodes gaffe. Highlights from episodes 3 and 4 were the beginning of the Rodman story; the Native American themed bond of Rodman and Jackson; Doug Collins' disregard for the triangle theory brewing in the wings; and the Pistons' walk-out Rashomon phone viewings. Also liked Rodman's number '33' hair tribute to Pippen coinciding with him not caring anymore and the appearances of Phil Ponce and the other news anchor who said: 'If you're going to work today then your name's probably not Doug Collins who was fired yesterday by the Chicago Bulls'.

I agree about the mystery of Krause. One moment he's the comedy villain, the next he's making the canny moves. Don't fully understand why he became so keen to get rid of Jackson (along with Jordan) and start again but maybe we the doc will shed more light on that as it goes on. I forgot that Rodman went out with Madonna and Carmen Electra. Anyone here gone out with anyone like that?

Dex Sawash

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Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2020, 01:10:02 PM »
My favorite MJ moment of recent history when he introduces his Air deal to supply football gear for UNC

https://youtu.be/6ZJPL7vM-k8

mikeyg27

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Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2020, 08:51:12 PM »
 
Would be really surprised if Netflix haven't tried to get the international rights for it , it'd do very well all dropped at once on there after it finishes.

Indeed, they do have the international rights. That's how I'm watching it.

My main takeaway from this so far is that Jordan's greatness seemed to come from a psychopathic level of pettiness. It makes you wonder if everyone hating Krause was a large part of the reason they won so many titles, the glee with which Jordan and Pippen went out to destroy anyone he even glanced at.

Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2020, 04:14:47 AM »
Yeah, it actually left a really bad taste the way they went on at the Olympics. I mean, fair enough, smash the guy on the court, but Pippen's comments afterwards were extremely ungracious, and then Jordan with that room-filling, arrogant laugh.

Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2020, 08:24:29 AM »
It seemed the players had a different, arguably more closer relationship with the old press boys. There was a mutual respect there, which contrasts with the relationship between U.S sports stars and the media these  days.

Watched episode 5 last night, and was really interested in how Jordan launched the Nike brand, it was almost perfect timing. I love the bit where he didn't want to go meet Nike and his parents convinced him to go. It was a brave move for Nike to endorse Jordan so early in his career.

finnquark

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Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2020, 09:29:06 AM »
I've watched all 6 episodes that are available, and as someone with zero knowledge of basketball, it's absolutely gripping. I do have some questions for anyone with a bit more insight:

- What was the rep of the NBA in say the early 80s and before? The footage of the Bulls makes the whole thing look a bit shabby - is that just a reflection of them as a franchise, or was the whole league a bit run down?

- I read up on the triangle offense after it was mentioned - what was the standard of coaching/tactics in the pre-90s era? Was there a dominant tactical philosophy? How 'rehearsed' was the play, or were players just assembled and then told to go shoot?

- The doc makes out that the Bulls received a lot of physical treatment, from the Pistons and then the Knicks. It also suggests at times that the refs weren't penalising this treatment - is that accurate?

Jordan seems incredibly serious, to the point whereby almost all of his jokes are actually just barbs about other people. In ep 6, the little bit of gambling he's doing with his security people seems a good example of his inability to take things lightly. I guess that's what you need to become as successful as he was, an almost robotic level of commitment, but as mentioned above, the way he goes after people he perceives to be a threat is very noticeable. Actually what interests me the most about him is his relationship to the concept of a team. He simultaneously seems to want his team mates to be on his level (the story about him telling players not to pass to certain people, his dismissive attitude towards certain players) but also to want nobody to come close to his level. I suppose that's a tension that most amazing sports people have in team sports, the desire for individual accolades and team success, and trying to balance the two.

Dex Sawash

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Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2020, 12:38:03 PM »
I've watched all 6 episodes that are available, and as someone with zero knowledge of basketball, it's absolutely gripping. I do have some questions for anyone with a bit more insight:

- What was the rep of the NBA in say the early 80s and before? The footage of the Bulls makes the whole thing look a bit shabby - is that just a reflection of them as a franchise, or was the whole league a bit run down?

- I read up on the triangle offense after it was mentioned - what was the standard of coaching/tactics in the pre-90s era? Was there a dominant tactical philosophy? How 'rehearsed' was the play, or were players just assembled and then told to go shoot?

- The doc makes out that the Bulls received a lot of physical treatment, from the Pistons and then the Knicks. It also suggests at times that the refs weren't penalising this treatment - is that accurate?

Jordan seems incredibly serious, to the point whereby almost all of his jokes are actually just barbs about other people. In ep 6, the little bit of gambling he's doing with his security people seems a good example of his inability to take things lightly. I guess that's what you need to become as successful as he was, an almost robotic level of commitment, but as mentioned above, the way he goes after people he perceives to be a threat is very noticeable. Actually what interests me the most about him is his relationship to the concept of a team. He simultaneously seems to want his team mates to be on his level (the story about him telling players not to pass to certain people, his dismissive attitude towards certain players) but also to want nobody to come close to his level. I suppose that's a tension that most amazing sports people have in team sports, the desire for individual accolades and team success, and trying to balance the two.

Without doing any research, tons of new taxpayper funded hoops arena built in 90s built under threat of team moving to new town as value of an NBA team rose.
80s was probably mostly played in arena from 60s or before.

NBA messed around with rules to increase scoring more than college did. Coaching innovation was probably had some good and bad response.

As a Knicks fan, I can honestly say none of those were fouls. Patrick Ewing is owed a 12-part documentary.

MJ had a well publicized gambling problem, dunno if they're going to gloss over that as I'm on e3.



niat

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Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2020, 01:11:17 PM »

MJ had a well publicized gambling problem, dunno if they're going to gloss over that as I'm on e3.


That's covered in e6.

I'm loving this series. I haven't watched a lot of NBA but I remember all the players from the era covered in the show as I had a mate who was a big MJ fan.

I might have to start watching the NBA when it eventually returns.

Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2020, 01:25:55 PM »
My main takeaway from this so far is that Jordan's greatness seemed to come from a psychopathic level of pettiness.
That's totally it! The kind of person you could probably will into doing anything just by telling them you don't think they can do it

Jordan seems incredibly serious, to the point whereby almost all of his jokes are actually just barbs about other people.
I'm finding it hilarious.



So he left the Bulls because they wouldn't keep Phil Jackson, and I see that when he returned to the Wizards they hired Doug Collins as coach, and also signed Charles Oakley? With all the pushing around of Jerry Krause it doesn't seem like he actively wanted him to go until the very end?
It kinda reminds me of Q-Tip in that A Tribe Called Quest doc, except way more of a prick. He fucking loves being the top dog but has huge trust issues which have manifested themselves in trying to keep the people he's already got figured out hanging around.

There must've been some major drama in his final season at the Wizards? He was hardly still the key player that late on? Or was he deliberately playing an extremely light schedule and killing himself in every game he did play?

mikeyg27

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Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2020, 01:41:16 PM »
- What was the rep of the NBA in say the early 80s and before? The footage of the Bulls makes the whole thing look a bit shabby - is that just a reflection of them as a franchise, or was the whole league a bit run down?

By the time Jordan entered the League in 1984 it was on its way up, but it was still way below the NFL and MLB in terms of relevance. During the 80s the Lakers & Celtics (and specifically Magic Johnson and Larry Bird) took the profile of the league up several notches. It's sort of touched upon in the doc but they very much paved the way for Jordan to go supernova the way he did. And as has already been mentioned, this made getting public-funded arenas a lot easier which in turn drove revenue way up.

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- I read up on the triangle offense after it was mentioned - what was the standard of coaching/tactics in the pre-90s era? Was there a dominant tactical philosophy? How 'rehearsed' was the play, or were players just assembled and then told to go shoot?

- The doc makes out that the Bulls received a lot of physical treatment, from the Pistons and then the Knicks. It also suggests at times that the refs weren't penalising this treatment - is that accurate?

The game was definitely more physical in the 80s and 90s (it was even worse in the 60s/70s, until the Kermit Washington punch forced the league to take action). It actually sort of connects to the coaching philosophies of the time, because often the offensive pattern was to let your best player go on his own to score, and if you shut that down then you'd win.

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the way he goes after people he perceives to be a threat is very noticeable.

There is a hilarious rumour that the reason Jordan has finally allowed this documentary to be made (the NBA have been sitting on this footage for 22 years) is that a Jordan vs LeBron James G.O.A.T. debate has emerged in the last few years.

Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2020, 07:16:24 PM »
Got on to episode 5 there last night. All the stuff around the Dream Team was insanely petty.

Also, they made it out like the Bulls absolutely destroyed Portland in the 1992 finals, but it was 4-2?
And looking at stats in the mid/late 90s Karl Malone is absolutely on a par with Jordan isn't he? Are they gonna dedicate an episode to the rivalry between them?



Barack Obama talking in circles to sound like he was super pissed off with Jordan for not endorsing Harvey Gantt but also totally okay with was a really annoying moment to sit through, he's so good at saying nothing. I get why they have him on it but he obviously adds nothing.

joaquin closet

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Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2020, 12:27:09 AM »
And looking at stats in the mid/late 90s Karl Malone is absolutely on a par with Jordan isn't he? Are they gonna dedicate an episode to the rivalry between them?

Malone was a great, great player, but sort of did one thing - acted as the roll man in a pick-and-roll with the greatest assist man of all time, John Stockton, who would feed him the ball to be dunked. Accordingly Malone could only really score near the basket, and was limited (at least compared to MJ) in creating his own offense - he needed Stockton to really thrive. What a one thing, though.

On the other hand MJ could score from anywhere; near the basket, around the free-throw line, even behind the three-point line. Just think about some of his iconic game winners, all from a distance far beyond where Malone could comfortably operate from. He was also a far more creative player than Malone. But ultimately, the proof that he was not 'absolutely on par' with Jordan comes when you look at their Championhip rings - MJ 6, Malone 0. And remember, Malone had a teammate in John Stockton who was more talented than anyone Jordan ever played with, including Pippin and Rodman.

Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2020, 06:05:28 AM »
This is reminding me of how much I loved basketball at the time. I always followed the Sonics, Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp. Not sure why I fell out of love with it, probably when I left school and stopped playing.

Smeraldina Rima

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Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2020, 05:00:58 PM »
I had the Gary Payton Nike Gloves with a white zip-up layer around the laces. Never missed a hoop in those beautiful sneakers.

Dex Sawash

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Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2020, 05:46:28 PM »

I bet you fucking didn't you dirty old basketbollocks

Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2020, 01:12:37 AM »
Malone was a great, great player, but sort of did one thing - acted as the roll man in a pick-and-roll with the greatest assist man of all time, John Stockton, who would feed him the ball to be dunked. Accordingly Malone could only really score near the basket, and was limited (at least compared to MJ) in creating his own offense - he needed Stockton to really thrive. What a one thing, though.

On the other hand MJ could score from anywhere; near the basket, around the free-throw line, even behind the three-point line. Just think about some of his iconic game winners, all from a distance far beyond where Malone could comfortably operate from. He was also a far more creative player than Malone. But ultimately, the proof that he was not 'absolutely on par' with Jordan comes when you look at their Championhip rings - MJ 6, Malone 0. And remember, Malone had a teammate in John Stockton who was more talented than anyone Jordan ever played with, including Pippin and Rodman.
Does basketball tend to revolve around a mix of one-man teams (ie literally everything is built around the superstar) and more team based ones?

I find it hard to imagine how the Bulls adapted to Jordan going off to do baseball, it feels like he made everything about the team about him in this doc. It even comes across like his embrace of Pippen is more about ensuring he doesn't try to usurp him.




...basically, what're the smelliest bits of this series so far in terms of how it's re-writing the past?

Cardenio I

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Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2020, 07:20:53 PM »
I'm absolutely gripped by this, despite having no prior knowledge of or real interest in the sport or the era. It's a shame it's come out when it has, because with all the reading around I've now done and the Wikipedia wormholes I've sunk down I feel pretty well primed to start following the NBA. I love the particularity of the spectacle of American sports and the characters and stories ithat culture throws up. I'm rewatching Sunderland Til I Die at the moment as well and it could not be a more distinct counterpoint.

Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2020, 08:17:08 AM »
Does basketball tend to revolve around a mix of one-man teams (ie literally everything is built around the superstar) and more team based ones?

I find it hard to imagine how the Bulls adapted to Jordan going off to do baseball, it feels like he made everything about the team about him in this doc. It even comes across like his embrace of Pippen is more about ensuring he doesn't try to usurp him.




...basically, what're the smelliest bits of this series so far in terms of how it's re-writing the past?

I think that's the same for most team sports. Current equivalents would be Ronaldo or Messi in Football or Virat Kohli in Cricket. Without these superstars their respective teams are considerably weaker.

Episode 8 does explain a little bit how Jordan needs people to do the dog work. That's why Rodman was so important to the team after Jordan's come back.

mikeyg27

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Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2020, 10:16:06 AM »
I would say Basketball is the team sport where having a superstar makes the most difference, due to the relatively small number of players on the court and how long they tend to stay on the court. If you look at the list of NBA champions the number of teams who have won a title without an all-time great player is very small.

What I don't understand: why did none of Jordan's teammates challenge him to a being-nice contest? "Oh, you fucking think you're nicer than me? Watch me NICE the fuck out of you, BITCH!"

Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2020, 12:34:17 PM »
Rodman really does come across as an utterly inspired signing in this. He's seems pretty perfect for Jordan, extremely talented but a mess in a manner that means he's zero threat and quite malleable if you give him some concessions off the court.

Dex Sawash

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Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2020, 12:40:21 PM »
My wife worked at a drugstore with MJ's girlfriend in Chapel Hill so she had known him a little. Michael bought an extra milkshake for her when delivering dinner to his girlfriend one evening. No other Bulls bothered.

Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2020, 02:51:08 PM »
My wife worked at a drugstore with MJ's girlfriend in Chapel Hill so she had known him a little. Michael bought an extra milkshake for her when delivering dinner to his girlfriend one evening. No other Bulls bothered.

As well Stephen Kerr might have had more than a black eye if he went about delivering the dinner for MJ's girl.

Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2020, 03:47:44 PM »


What I don't understand: why did none of Jordan's teammates challenge him to a being-nice contest? "Oh, you fucking think you're nicer than me? Watch me NICE the fuck out of you, BITCH!"

This idea has tickled me greatly.

Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2020, 01:01:12 PM »
My wife worked at a drugstore with MJ's girlfriend in Chapel Hill so she had known him a little. Michael bought an extra milkshake for her when delivering dinner to his girlfriend one evening. No other Bulls bothered.

On the other hand, I just watched Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan on Oprah, where Barkley tells the delightful story of how he tried to give money to a homeless person and Jordan stopped him, saying "if he can beg for change, he can take a McDonalds order."

I haven't watched basketball since around 2011 or 2012 but as others have said this has got me feeling like getting back into it. NBA 2k20 is on sale in the playstation store for £3.99 too so I've gone and got that. Can't turn down a price like that.

Dex Sawash

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Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2020, 04:27:41 PM »
. NBA 2k20 is on sale in the playstation store for £3.99 too so I've gone and got that. Can't turn down a price like that.

Load it up and it just says NBA 2020 CANCELLED

Re: The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary)
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2020, 10:43:29 PM »
I'm on the Dennis Rodman - who seems the most interesting - episode, it's quite gripping so far.

Its amazing them talking about Michael Jordan like he's Jesus Christ, when for me its not really that impressive, considering its basically a non contact sport for Americans with no attention span.

They way he hangs in the air though is very impressive. Physically he is immense.

Edit - Episode 5, I love how Michael Jordan still hates this Isiah Thomas lad. Just pure hatred. Have to respect that level of bitterness.

« Last Edit: May 18, 2020, 12:35:25 AM by bgmnts »

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