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 5 and 6.
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 two Sundays.
Episode 5 starts with Michael Jordan walking past Kobe Bryant in Madison Square Garden ahead of the 1998 NBA All-Star game. Talking with players on the Eastern Conference squad, Jordan referred to Bryant as “that little Laker boy.” He went on to poke fun of Bryant’s habit of taking a lot of shots.
Haha that commentary on Kobe was priceless!!! 33,643 points later...— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) May 4, 2020
Omg it’s comedy already 🤣🤣🤣— Allonzo Trier (@ISO_ZO) May 4, 2020
Omg it’s comedy already 🤣🤣🤣— Allonzo Trier (@ISO_ZO) May 4, 2020
Locker room talk is better than the barbershop talk— C.J. Watson (@Quietstorm_32) May 4, 2020
😥😥😥😥 that intro just tore my apart man. Man I wish Kobe was here to see this man. Thank you for sharing that beautiful and special footage Mike!— Quinn Cook (@QCook323) May 4, 2020
It will never feel real Kobe isn't here with us..— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) May 4, 2020
The documentary then went into how Jordan’s relationship with Nike developed. Jordan initially wanted to sign an endorsement deal with Adidas, but after some prodding from his parents and his agent, Jordan signed with Nike, in part, because Adidas could not give him a signature shoe. From there, the commercial and cultural icon that was “Air Jordan” was born.
“My game did all my talking,” Jordan said about how “Air Jordan” became synonymous with greatness.
Jordan was as hot as a cabbage patch doll most kids today don’t even know what a cabbage patch doll is. #TheLastDance— Craig Smith (@blackrhino83) May 4, 2020
Technology with the shoe game have changed dramatically— C.J. Watson (@Quietstorm_32) May 4, 2020
Thank the good heavens for Moms Deloris Jordan!! #TheLastDance— Quentin Richardson (@QRich) May 4, 2020
Again Jordan’s is like Disney World when comes down to the shoe game!!! He laid the foundation for all NBA players who got 100 million dollar shoe deals in the NBA need, to they need be thanking MJ....Carry on— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) May 4, 2020
Speaking about the selection of the “Dream Team” for the 1992 Olympics, Jordan said he didn’t block Isiah Thomas from making the squad.
“I respect Isiah Thomas’ talent,” Jordan said. “To me, the best point guard of all-time is Magic Johnson and right behind him is Isiah Thomas. No matter how much I hate him, I respect his game.”
Jordan said he loved the camaraderie of the “Dream Team” practices. He also established himself as a star among stars.
“Michael Jordan was the alpha, alpha. Period.”— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) May 4, 2020
“We ain’t in Chicago Stadium no more.” -Magic to MJ— Julius Hodge (@Follow24Hodge) May 4, 2020
*5 minutes later*
“All they did was move Chicago Stadium to here.” -Magic to MJ
Bulls general manager Jerry Krause’s belief Toni Kukoc was the future of the organization made him a target for Jordan and Scottie Pippen when Team USA played Croatia in the Olympics.
“It wasn’t anything personally with Toni, but we were going to do everything we could to make Jerry look bad,” Pippen said.
Poor Toni Ku-Koch smh. He was an innocent bystander. 🤷🏾♂️ #TheLastDance— Quentin Richardson (@QRich) May 4, 2020
Kukoc was chopped liver 😂😂— C.J. Watson (@Quietstorm_32) May 4, 2020
Leave him for Scottie & Me!! -MJ to the rest of the Dream Team about guarding Kukoc #TheLastDance— Quentin Richardson (@QRich) May 4, 2020
MJ heart don’t pump Blood like a normal person...that MF got Hot Sauce running through this veins!!! He’s a damn SAVAGE on and off the court.— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) May 4, 2020
In the second meeting between the two teams, Kukoc had a much better game and showed he was no pushover.
Yeah Kukoc I like that!!— Julius Hodge (@Follow24Hodge) May 4, 2020
Overcome that MJ & Pippen adversity.#TheLastDance
Sports will be appreciated at a all time high after this & played at a even higher level!— DeMar DeRozan (@DeMar_DeRozan) May 4, 2020
Episode 6 begins with the hardships Jordan faced in being hounded by the media and fans everywhere he went.
“This is not one of those lifestyles you envy,” Jordan said. “I’m ready for getting out of this life. You know when you get to that point. I’m there. No reservations at all. I’m there.”
Now we can start to see why he was ready to walk away in 93....to hear MJ say it’s “no fun being Michael Jordan” was jaw dropping for me. Can’t imagine how it was and is for him to walk around. It has to be overwhelming on some level #BeLikeMike #TheLastDance— Quentin Richardson (@QRich) May 4, 2020
Jordan’s affinity for gambling — and competitiveness — was on display when cameras captured him playing a game of quarters with United Center security personnel. Jordan ended up losing.
Hhahahah. MJ is playing quarters with his security. And y'all telling me he doesn't have a competitive sickness?! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) May 4, 2020
Cuz I wanna say I got your money in MY pocket. -MJ #TheLastDance— Quentin Richardson (@QRich) May 4, 2020
The documentary went into more aspects of Jordan’s gambling habits. While Jordan admitted he did gamble, he didn’t see an issue with it. At the time, Jordan said he thought he had a “competition problem,” not a gambling problem.
Not everybody wanna see you doing good💯— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) May 4, 2020
Live long enough to see yourself become the villain???— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) May 4, 2020
Could we imagine if there was social media during this time they on MJ about going to Atlantic City?! It would have been really crazy!! #thelastdance— Quentin Richardson (@QRich) May 4, 2020
Miller Lites and Cigars was the NBA Culture of the 90s.— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) May 4, 2020
I'm laughing before I write this. " IF you win 3 in a row you are already on the Mount Rushmore"- HOF David Aldridge.— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) May 4, 2020
MJ won 3, went and played baseball then came BACK won 3 more in a row. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
After the Bulls’ loss to the Suns in Game 5 of the 1993 NBA Finals, Jordan made it clear to his teammates he only wanted to fly to Phoenix to clinch the title in Game 6. “I don’t know about you guys, I’m only packing one suit,” he said. “We’re going back there to win one game, I’m not going there to play two games.”
The Bulls defeated the Suns in Game 6 following John Paxson’s title-clinching three-pointer. Upon winning his third consecutive title, Jordan said he felt exhausted physically and mentally.
Barkley was tuff ppl forget and undersized at his position— C.J. Watson (@Quietstorm_32) May 4, 2020
Micheal had that ability to not let them lose. - Charles Barkley #TheLastDance— Quentin Richardson (@QRich) May 4, 2020
Paxton hit a few big time shots in his career huh👀— Alex Caruso (@ACFresh21) May 4, 2020