The Last Dance did the impossible and lived up to the hype. At a time without sports and in our greatest need, MJ manages to deliver despite long being outside the spotlight. Even in retirement MJ is the most electrifying celebrity amidst a global pandemic. To that, all you LeBron stans can slurp the stench from my taint. Don't think I'm getting through the first paragraph without reminding you that you suck.
That said, here are my 10 favorite moments from The Last Dance. Maybe not the order you dream up but that's the beauty of these being my rankings and not yours. Certainly a lot of material to pick from but at the end of the day it's hard to argue with these 10. Let's get started
10. "Straight Up Bitches"
Such a huge story with the 80's Bulls was not getting past Detroit. MJ had put on 15 pounds of muscle, Phil Jackson took over as head coach and come 1990-91, the Pistons finally lost. From here, the Pistons would essentially explode while the Bulls go on to win 6 championships in 8 years. But before they did, the Pistons walked off the court after getting swept in 91. They bent the knee in such unbelievable fashion that in hindsight it makes all the sense in the world that Isiah would never win another playoff series again. The dude got absolutely fucking murdered by Michael, and Horace couldn't have summed it up any better.
STRAIGHT UP BITCHES
Anyone with a pulse and enough sense to hate Chuck Daly's Detroit Pistons felt that, and goddamn it felt good.
9. Traveling Cocaine Circus
Ever wonder why the Bulls were so bad in the 1st place? Ever wonder why it took some time to get MJ going in the NBA playoffs and how they were able to draft Scottie? Well turns out the 84 Bulls did nothing but rail hookers and blow after games, and that wasn't on MJ's agenda. Granted maybe it ended up there someday, but that's not how the man started in the league.
This one makes the list because it's nearly impossible to imagine a party that was too big for MJ. But then you remember that it wasn't his party and that he needs to be in control at all times and of course it's just vintage MJ.
8. Laughing At The Glove
I loved Stockton's comments in episode 10 that he wasn't really enamored with playing against Michael. His point was that he didn't think about it because if you did, you basically didn't stand a chance. That's not how you compete against the best so Stockton just kind of admitted you block it out.
Then there's Gary Payton, 24 years later acting like they had the gameplan all mapped out once they went down 3-0. The confidence and assurance that he could go toe-to-toe with the best is fucking hilarious. It's so vintage Payton in comparison to Stockton.
But no one here is more vintage than Michael, robustly laughing in Gary Payton's face because he knows Gary Payton can't hold his jock.
7. Getting To Know MJ Through Scott Burrell
You heard MJ was a dick and a tough teammate and an asshole and all that jazz. You heard it before the documentary and several times throughout. There's no doubt MJ was tough on his teammates, but you can't help but admire the camaraderie that brings throughout his interactions with Scottie Burrell. The playfulness from MJ and repeated jabs are what really stood out. There wasn't a dull moment on camera where he wasn't fucking with someone or busting balls, and at very few points did it ever seem mean.
One instance that stands out is the Steve Kerr fight, and as the story's told, it's obvious Michael lost his temper then went out of his way to get back on the same page with Phil and Steve. Moments like that shape the way you should view MJ's daily trash talking because it's obviously coming from a good place. The fact he had such a strong bond with such a nameless, faceless player from that era makes it so clear that it was entirely and unequivocally Michael's team without him being the biggest asshole in the universe. If anything, it's exactly how you want your best player to carry himself.
6. Space Jam Pick Up Games
No bullshit I honestly speak for everyone when I say that the lost tapes of these games could easily compete with an NBA Finals Game 7 for ratings.
5. Rodman Goes To Vegas
Another thing you heard stories about for years is the Rodman disappearance to Vegas. You knew he had a fucked up relationship with Phil. You knew that he respected the shit out of Michael and that he was the glue guy everyone loved to death. But you also knew he was a ticking time bomb. That stretch from 96-98 that featured Bad As I Want To Be and him wearing a wedding dress and banging Carmen Electra and joining the NWO and blah blah blah. There was no stone left unturned when it came to showing Dennis Rodman as an outsider on the late 90's Bulls. But what really made me appreciate MJ's leadership is that he's the one who went to get Dennis. OBVIOUSLY the joke is OF COURSE MJ WENT TO VEGAS but really think about it after watching all 10 parts and tell me if you think MJ isn't there for the right reasons. Tell me there's literally one other human being on the planet that can get Dennis Rodman to come home and I'll tell you that you're full of shit.
4. 1997 Fathers' Day
This one is more representative of the entire relationship and saga with his father's murder. Did you know James Jordan was missing for 3 weeks? Or that it was a massively flawed story about gambling debts? Or that MJ was already knee deep in the retirement waters when it happened? So much information came out that changed the way you see that stretch of time in his career. In hindsight, the 4th championship becomes that much more significant and that's before I admit I had never heard the audio of him sobbing on the floor. There are endless moments of him being a hero and a leader and a Grown Ass Man, but nothing that registers on the emotional scale like mourning his dad in that moment.
If you're reading this (you're probably not and that's okay), I love you dad.
3. The Last Shot
Bob Costas said it best - probably not another minute and a half in sports that's as good as MJ in game 6 of 1998. Obviously this isn't news to any normal sports fan, but the back and forth between MJ and Scottie as they explained that play was magical. I've seen it maybe 10,000 times but to hear the strategy of MJ knowing Malone would be susceptible to a weakside steal. That Scottie was trying to get out of the way. That the wrist flick was because he had been short on other jumpers and wanted to make sure he didn't leave that one the same way. The push-off on Bryon Russell getting broken down so eloquently. Him knowing Russell's tendencies to get him going that hard in the first place. The Russell talking shit story from the 1994 season when the Jazz were in town. The hug from Malone on the team bus after and the insight that Phil had zero interest in calling a timeout because he didn't need to. I didn't think it was possible but the greatest sports moment of my life was able to take on so much more depth and for that I consider myself a lucky son of a bitch.
2. "It's Maddening" - MJ Describes Leaving Chicago
We've been spoonfed the story that Michael and Phil wanted out and blah blah blah it was just impossible to keep the core together. But really at the end of the day we learn that MJ wanted to do another year and that Reinsdorf was the real reason it didn't happen. Makes me sick because the 2nd player he cited when detailing growing expenses was Steve Kerr's $1.7M salary in 1999. Reality is Scottie Pippen needed $15,000,000 and Jerry wasn't in a position to do it, so he let Krause burn shit to the ground and Phil walk away. One of the all time chicken shit leadership moves anyone has ever seen. We talked throughout the last 5 weeks waiting for Reinsdorf to get his moment and I couldn't love the way it came out any more. Nothing better than the bottom of the 9th, two-outs to throw an absolute fucking haymaker on his legacy. The fact the world didn't get a chance to see MJ go for 7 should be carved into his tombstone.
1. Then Don't Play Like That
If the document was 20 hours long and the first 19 hours, 58 minutes and 49 seconds was a black screen with no sound and I was forced to sit through it to get this 71 seconds, it would still be a 9.5/10 documentary. That's how fucking good that clip is. Everything you need to know about MJ can be readily summed up in that explanation of what drives him. The dude was there to be the best and at the end of the day there's literally no debate about him being the best. That's how much better he is than the next guy. You can't even argue it anymore without looking like an asshole. You really don't see that anymore.
Depends How Bad The Fucking Headache Is
Steve Kerr 1997 Parade Speech
Flu Game Or Pizza Game?
PS - Buy Some Merch