ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary series on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ final championship run during the 1997-98 season, continued Sunday with Episodes 3 and 4.
The 10-part series, which features never-before-seen video footage of Jordan’s tenure with the Bulls amid one of the greatest dynasties in sports history, continues the next three Sundays.
Dennis Rodman spoke at the start of Episode 3, setting the tone for the episode by saying he didn’t think the Bulls would have won their last three titles without him. “They really don’t do the things that I do,” Rodman said, when speaking about Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
Episode 3 began with a look at Rodman’s start with the Detroit Pistons in the late 1980s.
A locked in Dennis Rodman is a scary sight. 🐂🐂🐂— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) April 27, 2020
12 years in and I never have thrown a leg kick on a rebound like Dennis— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) April 27, 2020
"You don't put a saddle on a mustang." Chuck Daly to Pistons ass't Brendan Malone -DW— L.A. Times Sports (@latimessports) April 27, 2020
With the Pistons and Bulls rising in the Eastern Conference in the last 1980s, Chicago marked its ascent into the NBA’s upper echelon with its incredible playoff series win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1989. “The shot” — Jordan’s famous series-clinching basket at the buzzer — might have gone down differently if Ron Harper was guarding Jordan instead of Craig Ehlo. Harper, at least, seems to think so.
My boy Ron Harper hot as hell did not guard MJ on that last shot.— L.A. Times Sports (@latimessports) April 27, 2020
Jordan, looking back at the Bulls’ victory over the Cavaliers more than 30 years later, was emphatic about what the playoff series victory meant: “Whoever’s not with us, all you ... go to hell.
Jordan is hands down one of the best S*** talkers in all sports history💯— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) April 27, 2020
Damn Jordan missed a game winning free throw just to hit the game winner later on in the series 🤣 #TheLastDance— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) April 27, 2020
Man anyone else feel alive after hearing MJ say that haha.— Bernard Lee (@BernieoLee) April 27, 2020
The Pistons and Bulls met in the Eastern Conference finals. Detroit adopted the “Michael Jordan rules” — essentially find a way to stop him or take him down, literally.
Jordan Rules— L.A. Times Sports (@latimessports) April 27, 2020
- Push him to the elbow
- Force him left
- Double in the post
- Distract him with a high-stakes card game
"How bad do you want it? Are you willing to be injured to score a basket" wow!!!!!— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) April 27, 2020
Rodman joining the Bulls seemed almost otherworldly, at first, but it quickly came apparent how vital a role he played in helping Chicago secure its second three-peat.
20 boards 0 points!!! Wow— Malcolm Miller (@MalcMili13) April 27, 2020
Rodman made that Bulls team invincible— Tristan Thompson (@RealTristan13) April 27, 2020
While Rodman played an integral part in the Bulls’ success, coach Phil Jackson quickly learned they were dealing with someone who was not a typical NBA player. That’s why the Bulls allowed Rodman to take a mid-season vacation to Las Vegas.
Say what you want Dennis Rodman invented load management 😂😂😂😂😂— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) April 27, 2020
Dennis goes to Las Vegas during the season to drink and drink and drink and party and party and party. Lol - BT— L.A. Times Sports (@latimessports) April 27, 2020
But Jordan didn’t have any problems pulling him out of bed — with girlfriend Carmen Electra watching — when his Las Vegas vacation went too long.
This is a lesson for coaches as well. Get to KNOW your players so you can truly understand them. If they know you care, they will do anything for you..#PhilRodman— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) April 27, 2020
Every team in every sport got a player with Dennis Rodman mentality. They just don’t have his talent , intangibles and Phil Jackson as the coach 🤣 #TheLastDance— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) April 27, 2020
When the Bulls decided to hire Jackson as coach Doug Collins’ replacement, Jordan wasn’t happy. “I was not a fan of Phil Jackson when he came in. He was coming in to take the ball out of my hands. Doug wanted to put the ball in my hands.”
Doug Collins was not going to snitch lol! He a real one! “Feelings”— Eric Paschall (@epaschall) April 27, 2020
While Jordan eventually got used to Jackson’s coaching style, he hasn’t gotten over the Pistons walking off the court before time expired at the conclusion of the 1991 Eastern Conference finals. The Pistons infamously walked off the court with seconds remaining in the game, and Jordan isn’t buying Isiah Thomas’ explanation that teams walking off early was just normal for the era.
“I know it’s all b-------,” Jordan said. “Whatever he says now, you know it wasn’t his true actions then. He has time enough to think about it. Or the reaction of the public that has kind of changed his perspective of it. You can show me anything you want. There’s no way you can convince me he wasn’t an a------.”
MJ was different in the 1991 playoffs— Tristan Thompson (@RealTristan13) April 27, 2020
Following the Bulls’ win over the Lakers in the 1991 NBA Finals, Jordan’s teammates were a little surprised to see the raw emotion he showed.
His teammates questioned if he was human haha.— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) April 27, 2020
Man, 2 hrs has never went by so fast lol. #TheLastDance— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) April 27, 2020
I WANNA WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP🏆— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) April 27, 2020