Observations from “The Last Dance” episodes 7 and 8


INDIANAPOLIS – MARCH 19: Michael Jordan #45 of the Chicago Bulls shoots against Reggie Miller #31 of the Indiana Pacers on March 19, 1995 at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana. The game marks the first game back after coming out of retirement. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1995 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

CHICAGO — Only two more episodes of “The Last Dance” remain after Sunday night. The long-awaited documentary about Michael Jordan and the Bulls has aired the last month with rave reviews and huge ratings.

The seventh episode covered several heavy topics including the murder of Jordan’s father, his first retirement and his attempt at a baseball career. Episode eight looks at the infamous “I’m back” fax, his physical confrontation with Steve Kerr and the record-breaking 1996 season that sparked another three-peat.

Here are just some of the highlights:

Teammates feared Jordan on the court

Being the best player in the world does not mean you are the nicest guy. Several teammates talked about Jordan’s intense leadership style to the point that some actually feared him. Of course, they all agree that style was necessary to be great and he never asked anything he would not do himself. Jordan makes no apologies for being “a tyrant.” He says all he wanted to do was win and have his teammates be a part of it.

Jordan turned into a “vampire” during Space Jam shoot

Michael Jordan’s transition from baseball back to basketball is even more impressive because he was also shooting a movie. Jordan worked 12-hour days Monday-Saturday and still made time to work out. Warner Brothers built him a full-size court and training facility on-set where he invited the best players in the world for pick-up games. BJ Armstrong says the games provided Jordan scouting reports on everyone before the season. The games lasted until 10 p.m., even though Jordan had a 6 a.m., call-time for the “Space Jam” movie. Reggie Miller says, “I don’t know how he did it. This dude is like a vampire, for real.”

Jordan laughs off Payton’s recollection of ’96 Finals

The Bulls 72-win season ended with another championship in 1996. They took the first three games against the Seattle Supersonics, and closed it out in Game 6 on Father’s Day. Gary Payton credits the Sonics’ turnaround in games 4 and 5 to him switching to Jordan with a physical style of defense. You must watch Jordan’s response to Payton’s claim; “I had no problem with ‘The Glove.’ I had a lot of other things on my mind.”

“The Last Dance” concludes with episodes 9 and 10 on ESPN next Sunday night, and will cover the end of the Bulls dynasty.


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