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Ten takeaways after watching ESPN’s “The Last Dance”

Photo by Getty Images

During these troubling times for our country, Sunday nights have been something we have all looked forward to without any live sports and being stuck in the house.  Getting behind the scenes all-access footage with The Michael Jordan era Chicago bulls has been nothing short of incredible.  We got stories of MJ, Dennis Rodman and the rest of the Bulls that not many people knew about.  All the talk about who is the greatest of all time may have been put to rest after this ten-part series.  Let us take a look at the ten things I took away from watching “The Last Dance”.

  1. Phil Jackson should be in the conversation for the greatest coach of all-time in all sports.  The way Jackson knew how to deal with all those egos in the locker room and knew how to handle each player in a different way is nothing short of remarkable.  He knew he needed to let Dennis Roadman be Dennis, let MJ push his teammates but also pushed MJ at the same time.  The Zen master should absolutely be in the GOAT conversation.

2.  Steve Kerr is a certified baller.  Kerr has one of the most impressive basketball resumes in NBA history.

  •  5x champion as a player
  •  3x champion as a coach
  •  8 – 2 record in the NBA finals
  •  Part of the three winningest regular seasons in NBA history

Kerr gained the respect of MJ after Kerr stood up to him at practice. MJ punched him in the face but Kerr didn’t back down and from that point on MJ knew Kerr had what it took in tough times. Clutch shot after clutch shot, Kerr was money when it mattered. Kerr hit the shot to seal game 6 vs the Jazz in 1997 finals and the shot to change the landscape of the game in 1998 the eastern conference finals.  Kerr has been apart of the greatest teams in NBA history one of the most successful players/coaches in history.

3. Dennis Rodman is insane but incredible at the same time.  There has never been anyone like Rodman ever in sports. His lifestyle off the court and his play on the court is something you couldn’t make up even if you tried.  In the 1997 – 1998 season Rodman went to Phil Jackson and said he needed a “48-hour vacation ” midseason. Jackson complied and let him go, which then turned the “48-hour vacation” into 88 hours.  During the NBA finals, Rodman missed practice after a game three win and nobody knew where Roadman was. In actuality, Rodman was making an appearance with WCW in pro wrestling. He made multiple appearances on the show prior to this one, mainly during the offseason but never missed a practice during the NBA finals.  There is only one Dennis Rodman and there will only be one Dennis Rodman. 

4. The fans in Utah are nuts.  Imagine loving your team so much that you would go to insane lengths to make sure that they won.  That’s what happened during the 1998 finals, Michael Jordan and his crew ordered a pizza late night to his hotel room delivered by five guys. MJ was the only one who ate the pizza that night.  His trainer got a call to MJs room at 3:00 am MJ was sick throwing up and curled up in the fetal position.  MJ spent the next day getting multiple IVs trying to get him to the point to just get to the stadium.  This is where the ” Flu Game ” was born but it was really a food poisoning game.  Imagine poisoning someone and they still go out and drop 38 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.  Only MJ.

5.  MJ always had help.  Michael Jordan had some great teammates during his time in the league. List Below

  • Scottie Pippen ( Hall of Fame )
  • Dennis Rodman ( Hall of Fame ) 
  • Toni Kukoc
  • Horace Grant
  • Steve Kerr
  • Charles Oakley
  • Ron Harper
  • John Paxson 

No doubt that Pippen and Rodman are the two teammates of MJ that get the most attention,  but the quality of role players that the Bulls had cannot be overlooked.  Kerr was a lights out shooter with the clutch gene.  Toni Kukoc the slasher from Croatia was the third scoring option for the Bulls.  Charles Oakley was the enforcer during his four seasons in Chicago.  John Paxson, like Kerr, knew his role as a shooter.  Ron Harper averaged 7.9ppg during his time in the windy city.  Horace Grant averaged 12.6ppg along with 3.5 rebounds per game.  MJ had all the help he needed to win.

6. Jerry Krause deserves more credit then he is given.  No, Krause wasn’t the perfect GM, but he does deserve some scrutiny for the Bulls breaking up after at the 1998 season.  Krause was the one who made Phil Jackson the head coach, was the head of the Bulls six championship squads. He traded for Scottie Pippen and found the perfect role players to go with MJ and Pippen TWO times!  Krause should be recognized for being at the helm for maybe the greatest sports dynasty ever.

7. Charles Barkley was a stud.  The younger generation knows Chuck as the funny jokester guy you see on TNT, but they might not know how good Chuck the basketball player actually was.

  •  11x All-star
  •  11x All NBA
  •  1992 – 1993 MVP
  •  1990 – 1991 All-Star game MVP
  •  22.1 points per game for his career
  •  11.7 rebounds per game for his career

Although Barkley never won a ring in his sixteen-year career, that shouldn’t take away from the fact that Barkley is one of the best basketball players to ever lace them up.  Hopefully seeing him go toe to toe with MJ in the 1993 finals will give him some more love!

8. MJ was a great teammate.  Some people may feel after watching this that he was some type of tyrant and bully the way he was with his teammates.  He just wanted everyone to perform to the best of their ability and never asked anyone to do anything that he hadn’t done himself. Uplifting all his teammates, trying to get them to the pinnacle of their profession, what’s so wrong about that?

9. Everything motivated MJ.  Karl Malone winning MVP over him in 1999.  Charles Barkley winning MVP over him in 1993.  His feud with Isiah Thomas that still is going on to this day.  Claiming that LeBradford Smith said ” nice game to him after Smith dropped 37 on the Bulls, which prompted Jordan to go out the next night and scored 47 points matching Smith’s total in the first half alone.  Byron Russell saying ” Man, Why you quit? Why you quit? You knew I could guard your A**. You had to quit. ” MJ said from that point on “He’s on my list.”  The bottom line: don’t cross MJ.

10. Michael Jordan is the GOAT.  Plain and simple when it comes down to it MJ is the greatest of all time in the basketball world.  His passion and love for the game and his will to win were truly unmatched. Going 6 – 0 in the finals, never getting to a game seven, is truly something incredible and may never be duplicated.  All this documentary did was reassure the one thing everyone already knew: there will never be another MJ.

” Starts with hard work, Ends with Champagne ” – Michael Jordan 



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