This is, in my opinion, unequivocally the best minute of "The Last Dance" and one of the best things I've seen on television in a long time.
Last night's episodes were my favorite by far because they got much deeper into the human side of Michael Jordan. Watching all the basketball highlights and the practice fights is great, but I want to see what the greatest competitor of all-time thinks about what his career may have cost him in life.
This scene immediately reminded me of one of my favorite books, "The Cost of These Dreams" by Wright Thompson — the best sportswriter of our time. I highly suggest anyone who has enjoyed this series go read it. The book goes into the lives of several of the greatest sports figures ever, but Thompson spent time with Jordan for the book and some of the insight in there is incredible. This story for Outside the Lines was also written from the same time spent profiling MJ.
The quote Thompson gives in that Dan Patrick interview which I think can best embody his takeaway from being around MJ is, "Michael Jordan is very well aware of the fact that Mike Jordan from Wilmington, North Carolina is dead and that Michael Jordan killed him."
I think that quote is what you see in the last 30 seconds of Episode 7 of "The Last Dance." Jordan never wanted anything other than to be the greatest basketball player who ever lived, and that was his sole focus for so long that only afterwards did he realize everything he gave up to make that happen.
It's such a fascinating dynamic to me that Jordan will never be able to turn it off. Thompson says he's one of the best Bejeweled players in the world. It wasn't just basketball to him — this is why I believe Terry Francona when he said with 1,500 at-bats, Jordan would have been a Major League Baseball player.
When I think of Michael Jordan, I'm going to think of that 30-second clip. He knows what he gave up to be what he was. And for just a split second, you can see him ask himself if it was worth it.