Well, that was pretty amazing.
The first two episodes of Michael Jordan’s documentary, The Last Dance was a perfectly constructed, informative, and well-produced introduction to a 10-part series that figures to have hoops fans glued to the television screen each Sunday over the next several weeks.
Here is what we learned from the ESPN/Netflix special and some of the Twitter reactions from people as it seemed the entire country watched the debut of the Last Dance together.
MJ Learned Fell Out with Bulls Management Early
During MJ’s second season, he broke his foot and missed almost the entire year. Against the team’s wishes, he played pickup basketball in North Carolina and convinced the Bulls to allow him to come back a bit earlier than they wanted.
Jordan was on a strict minutes restriction and was further frustrated by the team’s willingness to tank for the rest of the 1985-86 season. He came back and the Bulls barely made the postseason setting up Jordan’s iconic 63-point performance in the playoffs against the Boston Celtics in a losing effort.
While MJ was able to fight his way back on to the court, Bulls management’s reluctance to try to win every game was the first of many rifts he’d have with general manager Jerry Krause and owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
MJ Never Really Got Along with Jerry Krause
The issues with Krause started early and got increasingly worse as the years went by. During the documentary, you can hear Jordan repeatedly ridiculing Krause about his height and weight.
Krause seemed to have a Napoleon complex and Jordan was insistent upon being the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.
Scottie Pippen Seemed to Hate Krause
While Jordan seemed to have a disrespect for Krause, Scottie Pippen appeared to abhor the man. In episode 2, there were details concerning Pippen’s profane insults directed at Krause after the GM made it known he felt the future Hall-of-Famer was expendable.
Pippen had endured disrespect from the Bulls’ organization for years. Heading into what would be the year that produced the sixth championship in eight years, Pippen was the sixth-highest paid player on the team, and the 122nd highest-paid player in the NBA.
Pippen purposely put off surgery on his injured foot so that he would miss time at the beginning of the 1997-98 season as a way to prove his worth to an organization he felt had been devaluing him. In what might be the quote of the Day 1 of the series, Pippen said, “I’m not gonna f### up my summer” getting this thing repaired.
In 1997, tensions boiled over and the relationship between Pippen and Krause became irreparable.
The acclaim for the first two episodes of the Last Dance came in from prominent people of every industry. Here are some of the more noteworthy reactions.
Next Week’s Episode
Next week, the series shifts its focus to Dennis Rodman. The Bulls acquired Rodman just before the 1995-96 season in a trade with the San Antonio Spurs for reserve center Will Perdue and the rest is history.