Sam Smith: Jordan has never said a word to me about “The Jordan Rules.” Never once, in thirty years. At the end of the interview, I said, “Hey, tell me something. Did you have to ask Michael permission to talk to me?” And the guy kind of stammered a little bit. And he said, “Well, we actually did ask him if it was O.K.” And I said, “Well, what’d he say?” He said, “I don’t give a fuck who you talk to.” The way I understood it is, he didn’t say whether they could or could not. They weren’t sure whether they should.
Sam Smith: I thought the documentary was more “based on a true story.” I think there was a little bit of drama put into it. It was Michael’s story. It wasn’t a journalistic documentary, per se. And it shouldn’t be. He never told his story before. People never heard it from his standpoint, and that’s what it was.
Sam Smith: I had extraordinary access that doesn’t exist anymore, in any form. You can develop relationships. Media guys still develop the relationships. But these men and women who do that now have to produce something, like, every two hours. I would make other calls. I would check on things. I would hang out with players. The Bulls practiced in a public health club. I joined it as a member. So when they would lift weights after practice, I would be next to them. I wouldn’t lift weights, but I would be sitting with them. Now everything is privacy. The locker room was just open. For a 7 p.m. game, Jordan would come at, like, 3 p.m. or something, so I’d get there and just talk with him for three hours. Now you’ve got ten minutes with guys, if that. LeBron is celebrated for being one of the few in the whole league who comes out before the game and gives the media five minutes. Jordan gave everybody three hours.
hotfreestyle: Shaq says he would decline a ‘Last Dance’ documentary because Kobe is no longer here and says he will never wear his championship rings. RIP Kobe (@complex)
"We had a checklist: gambling, conspiracy theory about retirement, his father's death, his lack of activism and his teammates," Tollin told me. "I think we touched on all categories. From the start, we asked ourselves, 'Is this a workplace drama or is it a domestic one?' We both believed it was a workplace story, and [director] Jason [Hehir] and I shared a general disinterest of the wives and children of the lead characters. Michael is one of the most private people of our lifetimes. He's glad this is over. He wants to get on with his regularly scheduled life. Michael never said you can't talk to either of his wives. We didn't feel doing so advanced the story."
Every person should be entitled to their story, especially for a person as forensically dissected as Michael Jordan. I asked Joe Dumars, the Hall of Fame Pistons guard, why he wasn't in the film. He told me the filmmakers reached out to him, but while he had enormous respect for Jordan and found it entertaining, the film was Michael's show. His story, as he saw it. In a sense, Tollin and the director, Jason Hehir, got lucky that Jordan was willing to be seen as openly as he was. "I think the film did much to demystify him," Tollin said. "There were many times when it took a hard, unflattering look at him."
Like millions of basketball fans across the country, Embiid had a formative experience watching The Last Dance documentary on ESPN: “I did watch it. It was interesting. I saw a lot of similarities, and a lot of people have told me that. I’m always quiet about it, but I kind of saw that there’s a lot of similarities, and I can also be that guy. I just need to keep putting in the work, and that’s what I’ve been doing. It was a great documentary and I enjoyed it.”
Dino Radja: It is difficult to write something about Drazen that has not already been written. Yet after watching the Last Dance I have to make a comparison. I'm not going to talk about playing qualities because it doesn't matter in this situation. Just the mind. Everything in Jordan's head was in Drazen's. Identical. That's why he was what he was. A winner above all. Games were lost here and there, championships and titles, but it was the mind that did not allow surrender and that pushed forward without compromise. From him, my mind also learned a lot and copied unconsciously. Who then has an idea of anything. And now to confirm only one situation that few people know. Drazen's last match against Slovenia in Poland. Totally irrelevant because we played the qualifying finals and the first three go to the European Championships. It means a match for nothing. Nobody even needs to play. However, this was never an option for him.
Jordan passionately stated why he believes the principals should have been kept intact to try for a seventh championship in 1998-99. “I was not pleased. How’s that?” Reinsdorf told NBC Sports Chicago in a phone conversation, when asked for his reaction to the scene. “He knew better. Michael and I had some private conversations at that time that I won’t go into detail on ever. But there’s no question in my mind that Michael’s feeling at the time was we could not put together a championship team the next year.” Don’t get it twisted. Reinsdorf called his current relationship with Jordan “great” and said his favorite part of the documentary is that it should put to rest any doubt about the NBA’s greatest player of all-time.
To Reinsdorf, the revisionist history of the end of the dynasty is less so. “I asked (coach) Phil (Jackson) to come back. Phil said no. Michael said I won’t play for anybody other than Phil,” Reinsdorf said, reiterating facts that were reported 22 years ago. “I met with Michael on the 3rd of July of that year and I said to him, ‘We’re in a lockout. Who knows when we’re going to play? Why don’t you wait until the lockout is over and maybe I can talk Phil into coming back?’ And he agreed. When the lockout was over, I still couldn’t talk Phil into coming back. And the big thing is Michael had cut his finger with a cigar cutter, and he couldn’t have played. So what’s all this talk about bringing everybody back when Michael couldn’t have come back?”
KingFut Q: After ‘The Last Dance’ documentary, people are having a lot of debates on who is the real GOAT. What are your thoughts on the documentary and maybe you can tell us about your NBA all-time best 5? Abdel Nader: You will be surprised, but I didn’t watch the documentary. For me in my era I got to see Kobe Bryant in my eyes as the best.
Like anyone missing basketball, Embiid watched “The Last Dance” documentary. There are some parallels to be made as Embiid and Ben Simmons have had their share of disappointment in the postseason. Much like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen did with the “Bad Boy” Pistons, the Sixers’ All-Star duo may have to overcome their playoff boogeymen in Boston and Toronto. Embiid believes he can push his teammates the same way Jordan once did. “I did watch it. It was interesting,” Embiid said. “I saw a lot of similarities and a lot of people have told me that. … I can also be that guy, I just need to keep putting in the work and that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Former Cleveland Cavaliers star Brad Daugherty has not watched one episode of The Last Dance. “I haven’t watched one peep of it,” Daugherty told The Undefeated about the ESPN documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. “I hear about it all the time. I get calls from people. … I appreciate Michael Jordan for what he is and I’ve known him forever. Great basketball player. But I don’t get caught up.”
An average of nearly 5.6 million people watched "The Last Dance" documentary on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Former NBA star Clyde Drexler was not one of them. "I didn't watch it. I lived it," Drexler told USA TODAY Sports with a laugh. "Hopefully down the road, I’ll get some opportunities to do that."
Nearly 28 years later, Drexler respectfully declined to engage in any trash talk. He laughed and expressed foggy memory of joking with former NBA on NBC reporter Ahmed Rashad that Jordan "stole all of my moves." Drexler said the Blazers challenged Chicago in a six-game series that he called "ultra competitive." "Everyone has a healthy respect for each other at this stage of their life," Drexler said. "You have to take it in perspective. We were truly competitive. I haven’t seen (the documentary). So I don’t know how to respond to your question. But I have a lot of respect for Michael and Magic. I wish them nothing but well."
That may not have been enough for the Trail Blazers to win an NBA title. Drexler experienced that in 1995 after getting traded to the Houston Rockets. But Drexler hopes viewers appreciate Portland's impact after watching "Rip City Revival." "It gives them some content. Everyone is starving for content right now," said Drexler, who offered sympathy for those affected by the pandemic. "This country needs sports, trust me. But only when it’s safe."
Drexler responded during an interview with SportsTalk 970. Drexler said: “That’s Michael’s documentary so obviously it’s going to be from his perspective. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. A lot of times guys didn’t like each other from other teams, but as you get older, you’ve got to get beyond all of that and show some love and some respect for the people you played with and against. “This is a team game, it’s not one guy,” Drexler added. “You can have 50 points and 40 rebounds, but if you lose, are you less of a player than anybody on the other team? No, it’s a team game. So I hate when people act like it’s an individual competition. I didn’t take 35 shots and get 20 free throws a night, so I wasn’t going to score 40 points a night.”
Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler is depicted as one of the archrivals of fellow NBA legend Michael Jordan in the final few episodes of “The Last Dance.” In the docuseries, Jordan says he was “offended” when the media compared him to Drexler, and the latter has just clapped back at Jordan with his own response. According to Drexler, it’s all part of the game: “That’s Michael’s documentary so obviously it’s going to be from his perspective,” Drexler said on a recent interview with the “The A-Team” on SportsTalk 790. “Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. A lot of times guys didn’t like each other from other teams, but as you get older, you’ve got to get beyond all of that and show some love and some respect for the people you played with and against.”
Drexler then went on to take a bit of a shot at Jordan, taking aim at the Chicago Bulls legend’s knack for taking matters into his own hands: “This is a team game, it’s not one guy. You can have 50 points and 40 rebounds but if you lose, are you less of a player than anybody on the other team? No, it’s a team game. “So I hate when people act like it’s an individual competition. I didn’t take 35 shots and get 20 free throws a night, so I wasn’t going to score 40 points a night.”
ESPN’s recently aired documentary series “The Last Dance,” chronicling Michael Jordan’s final championship season with the Chicago Bulls, rekindled interest in Jordan’s long-running feud with Isiah Thomas, including how the Pistons’ star was left off the 1992 Dream Team that won Olympic gold in Barcelona. Author Jack McCallum addressed the controversy in the most recent episode of his “The Dream Team Tapes” podcast series. McCallum said Jordan brought up the issue of Thomas himself in a 2011 interview. “When they called me and asked me to play — Rod Thorn called me. I said ‘Rod, I won’t play if Isiah Thomas is on the team.’ He assured me. He said, ‘Chuck doesn’t want Isiah. So, Isiah is not going to be part of the team,’” Jordan said on the recording that McCallum played during the podcast.
Hodges said he is upset over the documentary portraying that Jordan achieved everything by himself like a "hero" as the roles of other players and staff were underestimated in the achievements. But he believes that The Last Dance is the best sports documentary ever as it came at the right time for sports lovers amid this self-quarantine period. "That's the main thing -- that everybody got a chance to get their minds off this [coronavirus] madness for a little while. And you know, every time, they get two hours of Michael Jordan."
But Hodges took no issue with his lack of presence in the documentary. "I'm happy about it, actually. I'm kind of glad that I wasn't a part of that. It's so commercial. "And the value that I brought to our team was a level of consciousness, a level of critical thinking."
Hodges was known for social justice activism and never hesitated to raise his voice for black rights during his career. A three-time winner of the NBA’s Three-Point Contest, he previously publicly criticized other black NBA players over their lack of support in the fight for the black community against the discrimination they suffer. "For me, I grew up as a baby during the civil rights movement.'' "So obviously, there's a reason in his (Jordan) mind and in the mind of the producer, who's an executive producer, that Craig Hodges wasn't relevant to his story," he said. "And I'm cool with that. When you look at it from that perspective, he has to answer that question of why did you have Craig Hodges part of it, where you can talk to all of our teammates.”
"We were on that first team. He said we were a traveling cocaine circus. This is divisiveness. There are players among the team that loved Jordan, played hard for him, and others who are sitting at home watching the documentary, but he threw them under the bus." Hodges confirmed that some Bulls players used cocaine at the time, but the documentary would talk about it in a diplomatic way. "During that period of time -- and that was the height of the cocaine, that was the height of it -- it was party time in America."
Part of VICE TV’s VICE VERSA series of documentary specials, One Man and His Shoes essentially serves as an expanded version of what Episode 5 (and to some extent, Episode 1) of The Last Dance touched on: The cultural phenomenon of Nike’s Air Jordan shoe line. Director Yemi Bamiro doesn’t have to tell a larger narrative (though his film eventually goes there), so he can zoom in on this aspect of Jordan’s story.
The documentary gets into the history of the shoe, what it did for Nike, what it did for Jordan and the NBA, and what it’s done to black culture. Altogether, it’s a fascinating chronicle of the shoe business and sneaker culture, with the one man who fueled both trends becoming a global icon.
Hearing Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan in “The Last Dance”, crying on the locker room floor following his Father's Day championship in 1996 — MJ's first title since his dad, James, was murdered — caused Harris himself to become emotional. “I ain't going to lie, I was shedding a tear when I saw Jordan crying,” Harris told Yahoo Sports in a recent telephone interview. “I thought they should've just stopped the episode right then and there. It was touching. I'd seen the photo a whole lot, but I was probably too young to understand. And now you can really see all the emotion that's in it. I did some research after the show ended. You hear about his father passing away, but then you dive in and it's a pretty crazy story.”
Harris, a Long Island native, was fortunate enough to see Jordan play at Madison Square Garden when he was a kid alongside his father, longtime NBA agent Torrel Harris — founder and CEO of Unique Sports Management — and his older brother, Tyler Harris. It proved to be a memorable evening. “We kept asking my dad if we could meet him after the game and he was just telling us maybe,” Tobias recalled. “But it ended up happening and it was unbelievable. As we were walking away I realized I didn't get him to sign my card. So my dad had to pull him back and get him to sign our cards. Tyler and I were so excited on the train ride back. I kept thinking my dad was so cool because he knows Michael Jordan. I ended up losing the card on the way back, but it didn't matter because I had gotten to meet him. It was an unforgettable experience.”
While most of the responses have been incredibly positive, Michael’s 27-year-old daughter, Jasmine Jordan, exclusively tells ET that her dad “hasn’t paid any attention” to what people are saying about it on social media, including “all the new memes/gifs being created.” In addition to Jasmine, Michael shares two sons, Jeffrey, 31, and Marcus, 29, with ex-wife Juanita Vanoy, and 6-year-old twins Victoria and Isabel with Yvette Prieto, whom he married in 2013.
“We are all very happy to see how successful the doc has been and to see athletes, fans, new fans etcetera,” Jasmine says. “Obviously with the coronavirus, we all watched separately versus watching together, but we had a running group text thread.” “We would talk about what was happening, laugh at seeing our younger selves in some of the episodes and ask my dad any questions we might’ve had,” she adds.
One person that was noticeably absent from the 10-part docuseries was Jasmine’s mother, Juanita. Jasmine tells ET that her mom was not in it “simply because she already lived it, of course.” “The doc’s focus was on the team as a whole and their last season,” she said, referencing her dad’s sixth NBA championship with the Bulls in 1998. “My dad is a major focal point, obviously, but it still was about the team as a whole in their final run together, so that’s why she wasn’t in it.”
Okay, Carlisle was no Jordan Stopper. But on this week’s “Hoops, Adjacent” podcast, he was sanguine about it. “If you watch “The Last Dance,” you’ll see that I was actually guarding him in that series – which had mixed results, to say the least,” Carlisle said.
Smith said the food poisoning pizza story explanation in The Last Dance for “The Flu Game” was “complete nonsense.” He added that Jordan’s explanation at the end of the docuseries on wanting to return to the Bulls in 1998-99 for a run at a seventh title, with the organization being focused on rebuilding, “was a complete, blatant lie.” “There were several things in the documentary, what I saw, I would know, that he made up or he lied about.
You know, there weren’t major things, but it was like… when a TV movie comes on, and they say, ‘This is based on a true story.’ That’s what that was. It was based on a true story. There were all of the outlines of what happened, but a lot of the detail… like the pizza thing, the poison, that was complete nonsense. There were a couple of other things like that I won’t go into. They weren’t major, but the thing at the end was a complete, blatant lie.”
Smith also went into more detail about Jordan’s comments on wanting to return for a seventh title (around the 10:40 mark of the Dan Patrick interview). He didn’t want to play that next year. He could’ve, in any number of ways. So he made that up too at the end. That ‘I wish I could’ve come back.’ ‘I wanted to come back.’ He didn’t want to come back. … If he wanted that one year and the $40 million, he could’ve gotten it. He just didn’t want to play. I mean, we saw it with Ahmad (Rashad) in all those scenes. ‘Hey, I’ve had enough. I’m outta here. I gotta move on.’
Success of ‘The Last Dance’ may be enough to fuel ESPN in the absence of live sports. The Michael Jordan docuseries is now the network’s most-watched documentary and the positive numbers have led ESPN to move up the release dates of three other ‘30 for 30’ documentaries. The network has also ordered a nine-part series on Tom Brady that will air next year. ‘The Last Dance’ By The Numbers Averaged 5.6 million U.S. viewers across the 10 episodes. 23.8 million households have watched it outside the U.S. Ranks as 10 of the 11 most-watched telecasts among the key 18-34 demo since mid-March. No. 1 trending topic on Twitter for five straight Sundays. More social conversation on a per-episode basis than any TV series this year.
Horace Grant says MJ never took food away from him “I would’ve beat his ass...It wouldn’t be no Air Jordan right now. It wouldn’t be no six championships, I guarantee you that.” (Movie camera @betonline_ag )
The Houston Rockets guard told CNBC Wednesday that he’s halfway through ESPN’s documentary “The Last Dance,” which details the last championship run of the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls during the 1997-98 season. Harden said he’s slowly dissecting the documentary, analyzing Jordan’s competitiveness as he awaits the NBA’s return. “I just can’t watch it to watch it,” Harden said. “I want to see the ins and out and everything because at the end of the day, I am a competitor and I want to see what those dudes were going through.”
Susanna Reid was forced to apologise today over NBA star Dennis Rodman's "fruity language" on Good Morning Britain today. The basketball legend appeared on GMB today to speak about Michael Jordan's new Netflix documentary The Last Dance.
According to an ESPN Radio host, Scottie Pippen is “livid” and “so angry” with how he was portrayed in the Bulls docuseries that detailed the dynasty through Jordan’s eyes. Jordan called Pippen selfish in Episode 2 for delaying ankle surgery until right before the 1997-98 season forcing him to miss the first couple of months during a bitter contract dispute with general manager Jerry Krause.
“[Pippen] felt like up until the last few minutes of Game 6 against the Jazz [in the 1998 NBA Finals], it was just ‘bash Scottie, bash Scottie, bash Scottie,’ ” David Kaplan said on his ESPN 1000 “Kap and Company” show in Chicago.
Michael Jordan professes his love for Scottie Pippen, anoints him the best teammate he ever had and acknowledges he couldn't have reached pro basketball's zenith without him. But Pippen has been notably silent since the documentary began its run last month, and those close to him say he's wounded and disappointed by his portrayal. One of his most famous ex-teammates -- a former fierce rival -- has even felt compelled to come to his defense.
Here's what Gary Payton had to say about Jordan dismissing him on "The Opinionated 7-footers" podcast with Ryan Hollins and Brendan Haywood (via Andrew Joseph of For The Win): “Oh you know I was hot. I was thinking about calling him at the time. … But you know what, that’s what I expect out of Mike because I would’ve said the same thing. I would’ve said the same thing. You know me, B. I’m not gonna admit to nothing, man. I’m not gonna admit to somebody that D’d me up or did nothing. I’ll always tell you that any time in my career, nobody gave me problems but one person, and that’s John Stockton to me. That is just the way the game goes. I’m not mad at Mike because Mike didn’t have too many games that nobody D’d him up.”
Netflix says overseas hoops fans flocked in huge numbers to “The Last Dance,” the documentary series about Michael Jordan and the ’90s Chicago Bulls team, which has been a ratings smash in the U.S. for ESPN. Netflix tweeted the numbers Wednesday, claiming that 23.8 million households outside the U.S. checked out “The Last Dance” in its first four weeks on the service. “23 was always his lucky number!” the streamer said, referencing Jordan’s jersey number. But some big caveats are in order — Netflix’s selectively reported viewing figures aren’t comparable to TV ratings. The streamer bases its publicly reported audience metrics based on how many member accounts watched a given show or movie for a minimum of just 2 minutes — an in-house calculation the company claims is a better reflection of popularity than average time spent viewing, which is how the television world measures viewership.
Drew Shiller: Daryl Morey to Colin Cowherd today regarding former Bulls GM Jerry Krause: "He made a lot of good moves so I respect that. But if you have your best player (Michael Jordan) not liking you, then you are not doing a good job by definition. That is job one."
Hodges: “I’m still kind of upset about it because I know the type of brother that Scottie is. Scottie is the type of brother, I wasn’t part of the team when he didn’t stand up and come back out and play during that play, but I know that Scottie is the type of cat that will give his shirt for you, go on the ground for you and kick out the shot for you. I didn’t like how he was portrayed and I don’t understand the reasoning behind it and I’m still trying to figure that out. Without Scottie, MJ would not have won. It’s like all the brothers sitting here. It’s almost like MJ won in a vacuum and it wasn’t anything like that. To throw your brother, especially no. 33, under the bus, that wasn’t cool.”
Cartwright: “It’s interesting that when the play when Pip did not come back in the game, that was Pip’s best year. He had evolved into a leadership role, played great. To me, people make mistakes and then you move on from them. I think Scottie has a big heart. And when I first got to the Bulls he wasn’t a great shooter, skinny, extraordinarily talented, so everything he had he worked for. For me Pip was a great teammate and like I said it was one man’s show and that’s what they saw. But that’s not really reality.”
Grant: “It was straight up b-------. It was straight-up b------- how they portrayed Scottie. First off, being the No. 2 on that team and how he came out in terms of against Utah could barely walk, setting screens, getting knocked on the floor, the whole nine yards, and for them, that documentary, to call him…well, MJ called him selfish, that’s some BS. That’s straight up BS. If it wasn’t for Scottie Pippen there would be no six championships. I’m telling you right now guys. The first championship I think MJ got in foul trouble against the Lakers and who came to the rescue? No. 33. Scottie Pippen. Scottie Pippen. Yes, he made a mistake. We addressed that after the game. And then it was over with and we took the Knicks to seven games. My question is: How in the hell did that get on this documentary when MJ’s ass wasn’t even on the team?”
Hodges: “I never thought about that, brother. I never thought about that.” Grant: “That’s very interesting. And let me get back to something because I have to fucking vent now that I have the opportunity. Didn’t he call all of his former teammates out? The cocaine, the weed and the women? So who is the fucking snitch?"
Harper: “I mean, MJ knew who he could talk to and who he had to push. He was one of those guys who made you work hard because you see how he worked. It made you work harder. There were some guys he would pick on. But I didn’t think it was in a way that was harmful or bullying. It just that you ain’t going to talk crap about me. When he was talking to Scott Burrell, Scott wasn’t man enough to stand up for who he was. You ain’t doing that shit to me.”
Grant: “I wasn’t there for the second three-peat but I knew some of the guys on that team and I know damn well if you’re going to call Horace and a few other guys bitches and hoes, they weren’t going to stand for that. I’m pretty sure they edited that out of the documentary . In saying that, let me clear something up about this food thing, that he tried to take my food: Listen to me, where’s the camera, I would have beat his ass, guys. He can say what he wants to. I’m going to say what I have to say. You come back and try to take my food, I would have whooped his ass. There wouldn’t be no Air Jordans now. There wouldn’t be no six championships I can guarantee you that.”
Hodges: “It wasn’t him. I said that before and I will say it now. It wasn’t him.” Grant: “Let me tell you, man, that’s a damn lie. I wish I could say something else. But that’s a damn lie. Sam Smith was an investigative reporter and when you write a book I guess you have to have two sources, correct? Why would MJ just point me out? If you have a problem with me come to me. We could take care of it like men. Don’t try to put me out there because I didn’t say anything to Sam in the sanctity of that locker room. Point blank. And, one example, Sam Smith more times would allow my teammates…he would spend time with MJ, up in MJ’s suite and on the golf course and lunch and dinners. So for him to come out and say that, that’s a blatant lie. Lie, lie, lie. If you want to tell lies, go ahead it’s a free country.”
"That pizza was made well. I followed all the rules. Heck, I was – at the time, I was so busy trying to impress to become the store manager there, I followed all the rules." "I said, “Let me wash my hands. I’m going to make this pizza.” Because I wasn’t on the table. Then, after that, for months after that – I was working there still – everyone was like, “Whatever you do, don’t wash your hands. You’ll get someone sick.” It was kind of a running gag. Fite said he prepared the large thin-crust extra-pepperoni pie then possessed it the entire time, including passing through security as he and the driver entered the hotel. He said they took the elevator to the Bulls’ floor. Fite: "As soon as that door opened, it felt like you got punched in the face with cigar smoke."
That’d poke another hole in the most sordid rumors – that Jordan flew to Las Vegas or partied late at Robert Redford’s chateau the night before Game 5. Sure, it’s possible Jordan was hungover the next day. But placing him in his hotel room at 10 or 10:30 reduces possibilities. Which brings us back to food poisoning. Fite: Of course, when this whole thing happened, I got called by the district manager, “OK, if one guy got sick, how many others are we going to have to deal with?” And there were no other reports. Nobody else got sick. In fact, later on, a few years later, I had talked to a few people that had gotten pizza that night, too. And who knows much truth is in it? But they’re like, “No, it was fine.”
What did Reinsdorf think of “The Last Dance?” “Overall, I thought it was really good,” he said. “It was basically accurate. I think it showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that Michael is the greatest player of all time. My only objection to it was giving the impression that there was a way of keeping this team together after the sixth championship, which I think was not possible. But even if we had kept it together, we wouldn’t have won. If you really watched the last show with objectivity, you would see that we barely won. We barely got through the season.
“We were fortunate to beat Indiana. And we were fortunate to beat Utah. Michael had to absolutely go above and beyond the pale. He almost willed us to win those games. Scottie Pippen had a back injury and was going to have surgery. And Dennis Rodman had gotten to the point where nobody could stand to have him around anymore. We couldn’t have kept the team together. Even if we had, their skills had eroded. So my only objection to the series was it really should have given a clear impression that it was over, that it was done and it was time.”
Jerry Krause was a good person. That’s what Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf would like you to know about the late general manager. “A really, really good person,” Reinsdorf said in a telephone interview with The Athletic. “He was kind to people. He did a lot of good things, which I don’t think he would want me to talk about so I won’t. But he was a really good person.” Krause passed away three years ago. He was 77.
“He outworked everybody,” Reinsdorf said. “If he was scouting a game, he didn’t arrive at game time. He would arrive during the warmups. He wanted to see what players did before the game if it was basketball. If it was baseball, he wanted to be there for batting practice. He also never let his opinions be colored by other scouts. “It’s fairly common in both sports for scouts to be buddy-buddy. They hang out together. They talk about what they’ve seen. But Krause didn’t want anything to do with the other scouts for two reasons: one, he didn’t want to tell them anything, and he didn’t want anything they believed to color his own opinion. It was very important to him that he formulate his own opinions, not be colored by somebody else.”
Speaking on The Opinionated Podcast, Payton said he nearly rang His Airness up to give him a piece of his mind but realized he would have probably behaved the same way if it were him. “Oh you know I was hot! I was thinking about calling him at the time!” he declared. “But you know what, that’s what I expect out of Mike, because I would have said the same thing. I’m not going to admit to nothing, I’m not going to admit to someone that D’d me up. I will always tell you at any time in my career, nobody gave me problems but one person and that’s John Stockton to me. So you know that is just the way the game goes.
“I’m not mad at Mike, because Mike didn’t have too many games that somebody D’d him up. He always was dominant but I think me and [Pistons point guard] Joe Dumars were a thorn in his side, I really do think that. And I’m glad he said that because I wouldn’t expect nothing else from him. I don’t expect nothing else from Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan is Michael Jordan, that’s why we talk about him, that’s why we see a 10-week, Last Dance on him, because that’s just the way it is. “He is the guy that we’re all talking about as the greatest basketball player that ever played and that’s fine and I don’t expect nothing less from him.”
More than two decades later, ABC is airing a 10-part sports documentary, 'The Last Dance,' chronicling the life and career of legendary basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls' teams of the 1990s. The series will air on ABC for five consecutive Saturdays in a row from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. central time. - Saturday, May 23 – Episodes 1 and 2 - Saturday, May 30 – Episodes 3 and 4 - Saturday, June 6 – Episodes 5 and 6 - Saturday, June 13 – Episodes 7 and 8 - Saturday, June 20 – Episodes 9 and 10 The series originally aired in the U.S. on ESPN and was available on Netflix in other countries.
In an interview on "The Dan Patrick Show," director Jason Hehir revealed that Karl Malone turned down an opportunity to be appear in "The Last Dance." "He declined through another party," Hehir said. "We asked him multiple times. Believe me, we exhausted just about every avenue. We started in January 2018 on that one because we knew that (Malone) was gonna be a tough sell."
"I finally got (Stockton) on the phone after like two years of chasing him," Hehir said. "(Stockton) said, 'I don't want to be a part of a Michael Jordan puff piece.'" Hehir admitted that his team persistently pursued Malone throughout the entire process of the documentary, but he wouldn't budge -- even after Stockton agreed to talk. "We tried to get them to sit down together. Thought that might be a better option and (Malone would) feel more comfortable with that, but there was just no convincing him," Hehir said
Former Chicago Bulls forward Horace Grant has fired back at claims Michael Jordan made against him during "The Last Dance" documentary series on ESPN. In a radio interview with Kap and Co. on ESPN 1000 in Chicago on Tuesday, Grant said it "is a downright, outright, completely lie" that he leaked much of the information in Sam Smith's famous "The Jordan Rules" book, as Jordan alleged during the documentary.
"Lie, lie, lie. ... If MJ had a grudge with me, let's settle this like men," Grant said during the interview. "Let's talk about it. Or we can settle it another way. But yet and still, he goes out and puts this lie out that I was the source behind [the book]. Sam and I have always been great friends. We're still great friends. But the sanctity of that locker room, I would never put anything personal out there. The mere fact that Sam Smith was an investigative reporter. That he had to have two sources, two, to write a book, I guess. Why would MJ just point me out? It's only a grudge, man. I'm telling you, it was only a grudge. And I think he proved that during this so-called documentary. When if you say something about him, he's going to cut you off, he's going to try to destroy your character."
Like other former teammates, Grant was unhappy with the portrayal of various players and situations throughout the documentary. "I would say [it was] entertaining, but we know, who was there as teammates, that about 90 percent of it -- I don't know if I can say it on air, but B.S. in terms of the realness of it," Grant said. "It wasn't real -- because a lot of things [Jordan] said to some of his teammates, that his teammates went back at him. But all of that was kind of edited out of the documentary, if you want to call it a documentary.
"He felt that he could dominate me, but that was sadly mistaken," Grant said. "Because whenever he went at me, I went at him right back. But in terms of Will Perdue, Steve Kerr and the young man, Scott Burrell, that was heartbreaking [to watch]. To see a guy, a leader, to go at those guys like that. I understand in terms of practicing, you have a push and shove here and there, but outright punching and things of that nature. And calling them the B's and the H's, that wasn't called for."
As they made their way from their Boynton Beach hotel on the morning of June 26, 2018, for the first of three interviews with Michael Jordan, a number of emotions came over Jason Hehir and Jake Rogal, the director and lead producer for “The Last Dance,” the 10-part documentary series which examines Jordan’s final season with the Bulls in 1997-98. “Anxious, certainly,” Hehir said. “And we felt lucky, too. Jake is one of my best friends and has been by my side creatively, logistically, and in every possible way through this process. He and I would literally say to each other, ‘How lucky are we that we get to tell this story right now?’ Like if you told 10-year-old Jason and Jake that they’d be doing this in 2018, how thrilled they would have been?”
Amid the excitement, there was plenty of strategy to the Jordan interviews. Hehir believed that he and his production crew for “The Last Dance” had to get enough material from the initial interview to complete the first four episodes. The outline for the 10-episode arc determined everything, and because Hehir had decided there would be no narrator (including Jordan) or voiceover element to tell the story, they had to tell the macro facts of the 1997-98 season (and the individual stories of Jordan and other key members of that team such as Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Phil Jackson and Steve Kerr) through voices other than the main characters.
“We wanted to get people who had been there for all of these events so we would get the basics,” Hehir said. “Then we started going after our main characters. Normally, I like to do a main character right off the bat. The first person we interviewed for (HBO’s) ‘Andre the Giant’ was Vince McMahon. I usually like to see what I can get from that person so we know if a main character is going to determine where we go with the direction of the story.”
The Flu Game, the Food Poisoning Game, the Pizza Game. Whatever you want to call it, Craig Fite is trying to set the record straight about what may or may not have happened the night before Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals — the now-legendary game when Michael Jordan battled his own ailing body but scored 38 points to will the Chicago Bulls to a win over the Utah Jazz. Fite, 50, says he was working at Park City Pizza Hut when the location’s driver motioned him over after a late-night order came in.
It was, the driver said, a pie (large, thin and crispy, extra pepperoni) they suspected was going to the Bulls, who Fite recalls were staying in a Park City Marriott outside of Salt Lake City. “We knew what was going on,” he told For The Win on Monday night.
Fite was actually a Bulls fan; he’d adopted the team as his own after it drafted Michael Jordan. He’d become a huge fan of Jordan in 1982 after watching the then-North Carolina star beat his favorite college team, Georgetown, with an incredible jump shot. The Bulls had already been in town for a few days, having come for Game 3 that was played on June 6. Tales of Bulls players, including Dennis Rodman, taking over local bars had floated around the resort town. So when that fateful call came in, the then-assistant manager jumped on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“As soon as that happened, I go, ‘If it’s one of the Bulls guys, I’m going to make the pizza.’ I was joking around and said, ‘I don’t trust you guys, I’ll make it so nothing happens,'” he said of his Jazz-loving coworkers, chuckling at the how ironic that statement was in hindsight.
Now here was Fite on Monday, on local radio with Jake Scott and Gordon Monson, discussing a pizza he says he made 23 years ago and disputing what was broadcast on ESPN. “That’s a bunch of crap,” Fite said. “Sorry, we were five creepy looking guys that the guy felt threatened? I guess you have to sell your book but it really wasn’t that exciting.” Start with this, Fite said. It was just he and his delivery driver, not five men. “There were two of us,” Fite said. “I didn’t even have that many people working [at the Pizza Hut].” He said the pizza was meticulously made. “I followed all the rules,” Fite said. “At the time I was trying to impress the store manager there.”
Kathy Martin Harrison didn't remember she had signed a waiver. After all, it was 22 years ago. But after seeing herself on ESPN's "The Last Dance," her phone blew up and she became a viral meme, the light went on. "Before the game started, a national TV guy came up to us and said, 'Look, we're filming a lot of footage of Michael Jordan for a movie,'" Harrison recalled in an appearance on Dan Dakich's radio show Monday. "'And if we show you in any of the footage, would you sign a release?' We signed a release."
Harrison, who owns a local car dealership and has been an Indiana Pacers season-ticket holder for 44 years, was talking trash to Michael Jordan and the Bulls, just as she did to everyone else at the time. It's no longer allowed, thanks to the code of conduct, but she enjoyed the interactions with players -- and some grew to recognize her, including Dennis Rodman. "We’d just try to get into their heads. Disrupt their game," Harrison said. "That was our job. That was our mission. "And he would just turn around. He’d go, 'Oh, that diamond ring you have on your hand is fake. That’s fake.' And I’d go, 'OK, Dennis.'"
Harrison isn't on social media, but messages started to pour in with screenshots from Twitter. She learned what the Karen meme was. By the time she got to bed, it was nearly 1 a.m. "We felt it was our job to get into the heads of the visitors," Harrison said. "You can’t do it today, because they’ll arrest you, but back then, it was OK to be feisty and yell at the players and the players would yell back at you. It was just a lot of fun. "I do miss those days, but I’m older now and I just sit quietly in my seat.”
Having conducted a vast amount of interviews, the crew behind “The Last Dance” gave voice to many people to tell the story of Michael Jordan‘s career with the Chicago Bulls. But how exactly was interview time distributed in the final cut? We watched the 10 episodes of the documentary clock in hand to find out. Of course Michael Jordan was going to be No. 1, but you may be surprised to know Steve Kerr was second in the minute count and Scottie Pippen only No. 4. (Although that’s way better than Toni Kukoc, arguably the third-best player on the 1998 championship squad).
The Last Dance has made its mark on TV history. The 10-part documentary finished strong for its finale, with episodes 9 & 10 averaging 5.6 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN2. Episode 9 (9-10 p.m.) averaged 5.9 million viewers, up 10 percent from last Sunday, becoming the third most watched episode of the series, trailing the record-breaking audiences of episodes 1 and 3. Episode 10 (10-11 p.m.) averaged 5.4 million viewers, up 9.8 percent from last week’s episode 8, which aired in the same time slot.
Like basketball fans worldwide, Eric Piatkowski watched "The Last Dance," a 10-part mini-series on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. With each episode, Piatkowski was reminded of his NBA career, which spanned 14 years. The University of Nebraska graduate made his NBA debut 1994 with the Los Angeles Clippers. "My rookie year, we had the worst record in the NBA," Piatkowski said. "We were averaging about 2,500 people per game. Everyone said 'Wait until the Bulls come to town.' Every star in town is there and there are flashbulbs going off. I'm like, 'Man, this is amazing.'" Piatkowski remembers seeing several celebrities courtside for his first Bulls vs. Clippers game, including Tiger Woods, Denzel Washington, and Jack Nicholson. Piatkowski adds that prior to the game, his wife and family members were taking pictures with celebrities courtside.
In 2004, Piatkowski was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Chicago Bulls, where he spent two seasons. "They're showing the inside of the locker room (on the documentary," Piatkowski said, "and it didn't change one tiny bit from the time Jordan was there to the time I was there. I said to my wife, 'Do you see where Jordan's locker is?' She says, 'Yeah.' I said, 'That was my locker.'" Piatkowski adds that his wife was surprised to learn he shared the same locker as Jordan. "She goes, 'So you had Jordan's locker?'" Piatkowski said. "Yeah. She responded, 'Well, that's pretty cool.'"
D.J. Augustin recently derived quite a bit of motivation from watching an episode of ``The Last Dance’’ on ESPN. ``The last episode that I watched, afterward I went straight into the garage and started working out,’’ said Augustin, referring to Episode 8 where a tearful Jordan refused to make apologies for his competitiveness and his unflappable will to win. ``I just think it as motivation – not just to athletes or basketball players, but for anyone who wants to get better at anything that they are doing and want to be a better person physically and mentally. It’s just been great motivation for everybody who has been watching M.J.’’
Meanwhile, Kanter also shared his reflections on The Last Dance, the 10-part documentary chronicling the journey of NBA superstar Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls when they won six titles in the 90s. “I feel like MJ is the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) now,” Kanter happily shared. Kanter bared he was able to personally meet Jordan when he was 16 years old, but he more appreciated the former Bulls star’ dedication to the game after watching the documentary that inspired him to be a better basketball player in the court. “It’s amazing to see how dedicated he was, how amazing that he go out there and win every game and how competitive he was. His love and passion of the game is amazing to see,” said Kanter.
The final episodes of “The Last Dance” have aired, yet ESPN has one more program to show about the Chicago Bulls’ sixth championship. ESPN will show “Game 6: The Movie” on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. CT, following a rebroadcast of episodes nine and 10 of “The Last Dance.” The episode will feature game footage captured by five NBA Entertainment cameras and marks the first time that the game has been available to watch in high-definition.
Executive Producer Gregg Winik — who was a cameraman for NBA Entertainment during that Bulls championship season — said the brainstorming about Game 6 started by compiling the last 40 seconds of the game for the final episode of "The Last Dance". After they were able to do that, it started to expand into a project of its own. Winik and his team then took the NBC telecast and started to lay in footage to get the complete product.
David Jacoby sure thought so. With Hehir on the Jalen & Jacoby Aftershow, Jacoby interrogated the director about if it was “exactly 100 percent the truth.” For most people, it’s odd that in a room full of people only one partakes in eating a pizza late at night. What didn’t make the cut was that Jordan spit on it to prevent anyone else from eating it, Hehir said.
Come 10 p.m. he’s starving and since they’re on the outskirts of Salt Lake City it’s difficult to find anything open. Jordan settles on pizza. “When the pizza shows up,” Hehir said, “Michael says ‘Everybody, do not touch this pizza. This is mine. You didn’t wait for me, don’t touch this.’ So he spits on the pizza.”
"The thing nobody wants to remember," Reinsdorf said, "during lockout, Michael was screwing around with a cigar cutter, and he cut his finger. He couldn't have played that year. He had to have surgery on the finger, so even if we could've brought everybody back, it wouldn't have made any sense." Jordan contends that he wouldn't have been messing around with the cigar cutter (at a golf tournament in January) if Reinsdorf had already secured a commitment from Jackson to come back.
"The fact is, it's pretty obvious in 1998 that Michael carried this team," he said. "These guys were gassed. He could not have come back because of the cut finger. But even if he could've come back, the other players [Steve Kerr, Luc Longley, Jud Buechler, Dennis Rodman] were going to get offers that were way in excess of what they were worth. "I know in Episode 10, [Jordan] says, 'They all would've come back for one year.' But there's not a chance in the world that Scottie Pippen would've come back on a one-year contract when he knew he could get a much bigger contract someplace else."
“Roy Williams (then a young UNC assistant) told us a great story about how everyone got one chance to play in Carmichael (Auditorium) during the UNC camp week,” Hehir said. “Michael killed everybody. After seeing him play, Dean Smith pulled Roy aside and told him, ‘This kid can’t go to any other camp.’ But Roy insisted that he had to go to Five-Star to see how he would do against Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin and all these other kids. “I knew that we were going to do an episode on the making of Michael Jordan. Brendon Malone appears with us (in ‘The Last Dance’) primarily as Chuck Daly’s assistant for the Pistons, but back then he was a Syracuse University assistant basketball coach and Michael’s coach at Five-Star. He told us stories about Michael’s will to win as a 16- and 17-year-old.”
“The Last Dance” filmmakers interviewed Dick Neher, Jordan’s Babe Ruth coach and his first coach in organized basketball to get a sense of him as a young athlete. “There’s a lot more than what we showed to Larry (his brother) and Michael’s athletic story,” Hehir said. “There was a story of how Larry once went 3-for-4 in a Little League game and Michael hit the game-winning home run. On the way home, Michael’s dad is praising Larry. He’s saying consistency, ‘That’s what you need. It’s one thing to swing for the fences. That’s fine. But look at Larry. He got three out of four hits.’ And Michael’s like, ‘I won the fucking game!’ (laughs). So there’s little things like that.”
The moment captured Michael Jordan’s superior footwork, his clutch shooting and his flair for the theatrical. But should Jordan’s iconic decisive shot for the Chicago Bulls against the Utah Jazz in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals have been waived off? After all, Jazz fans often have argued the Bulls’ star pushed off on Bryon Russell. “Everybody says I pushed off — bull----,” Jordan said in the final episode of “The Last Dance. “His energy was going that way. I didn't have to push him that way."
Michael Lee: I spoke to referee Danny Crawford a few years about if MJ pushed off in ‘98 & he said you can’t blow a whistle on “what you thought you saw” in real time. “It wasn’t an egregious play where you thought, ‘Oh, no. You can’t do that.’ It was a tough play that could go either way.”
Apparently, taking a Vegas vacation in the middle of an NBA season is not the craziest thing Rodman did with the Bulls. He also skipped practice in between Games 3 and 4 of the Finals so he could participate a WCW wrestling match in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Practice footage showed Jackson expressing some irritation with Rodman about that episode. To the media, Jackson offered a different reaction when asked if Rodman’s behavior hurts the Bulls’ focus in the Finals.
“He’s only taking away your focus from the Finals, not ours,” Jackson said. Nearly 22 years later, Rodman hardly seemed regretful for what he did. After all, Rodman excelled well in a Game 4 win. “Phil realized I need to do me and do what I need to do,” Rodman said.
July 30, 2021 | 9:27 am EDT Update
Oklahoma City further added to its stockpile of future first-round picks as the Utah Jazz agreed to send a future No. 1 and center Derrick Favors to the Thunder for a future second-round pick, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday. Before the move, the Thunder already had 12 first-round picks above and beyond their own — some of which they can swap — over the next five drafts. Oklahoma City traded the No. 16 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft to the Houston Rockets for two future first-rounders — in 2022 (via the Pistons) and 2023 (via the Wizards). The Rockets then used the selection to pick Alperen Sengun.
Colangelo on Trae Young: “I’m happy that he wants to play for USA Basketball. We had him in one of our camps. We know him in USA Basketball. He’s done really well in the NBA. But predicated on what we felt we needed, he didn’t fit the bill this time around. He’s a young player, he has a future with USA Basketball but it was the opinion of our staff that it wasn’t now. It’s for others to make the declaration ‘you made a mistake.’”
Can roster continuity ever return? Colangelo: “Some things are under your control and some things are not. When I took over I did have some control over setting the tone. I did want a three-year commitment. I needed three-year commitments and I got them. Be it from Carmelo, LeBron, Wade, Chris Paul, etc. We had a good format where we had competition every two years. But the powers that be changed the format and they thought it was going to be a positive — and I immediately said it may be good for the rest of the world but it’s not for USA Basketball.”
As for the players, Colangelo pointed to injuries to Kyle Kuzma, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Smart that did them in during the World Cup, and the pandemic-condensed schedule that kept a quarter of the roster away because they were in the Finals. And also, this team, as constructed, can still win gold. “If we had everyone in training camp at one time and we were working collectively toward all of our goals and objectives, we would have been much further along. … If all things were equal, we all had the same time to practice, we all had our rosters set, blah blah blah, I don’t think we’d be having this discussion. I don’t. But that’s not the case. So we are gonna do everything we can to overcome it now, and I believe we will.” — Colangelo
Aaron Baynes was ruled out for the rest of the Olympics after suffering a neck injury, Australia announced Friday. The injury during the Boomer’s win over Italy in the preliminary round of the tournament, Sunday. Baynes is expected to recover in the coming weeks, but not in time to help Australia for the rest of the tournament. Australia, who has a 2-0 record in the Olympics, will face Germany Saturday in the third pool game of Group B.
Spain players Marc Gasol, Alberto Abalde and Usman Garuba have been placed in semi-isolation after coming into close contact with with a person who tested positive for COVID-19,EFE reports, citing confirmation by the Spanish Federation. All three players can practice and play in the games but have to stay in individual rooms and travel in a different vehicle than the rest of the national team squad.
July 30, 2021 | 7:40 am EDT Update
“If we don’t win, people will have their opportunity to take shots. I’m the one that has to look in the mirror and know that I did my best,” Colangelo said. “I’ll tell you in advance the answer is yes. I believe we’re going to win.”
“A lot of (players) called me and said they wanted to play, and then said, ‘hmm, I’m not so sure.’ I can understand it, there’s been a lot of things going on,” Colangelo said. “It’s challenging when you can’t even go out the door, except to practice or to a game. It’s really hard. If all things were equal, we all had the same time to practice, we all had our rosters set…I don’t think we’d be having this discussion. I don’t. But that’s not the case. So we are going do everything we can to overcome it now, and I believe we will.”