THE CHICAGO ENCORE: Remembering what we had with the 1990’s Bulls


SALT LAKE CITY – JUNE 14: Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls in celebration after winning the Finals against the Utah Jazz for the Bulls sixth NBA title, 87-86 at the Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah. 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 NBAE 2002 (Photo by Fernando Medina/ NBAE/ Getty Images)

CHICAGO – For some fans, it felt like a void.

Sunday night came and went without two more episodes of “The Last Dance.” It was the first time that had happened since April, as five consecutive weeks featured new installments of the series on the 1990’s Chicago Bulls.

In the midst of a pandemic, where staying at home is highly encouraged if not mandated, it was a welcome distraction and reflection back on a special time of Chicago Bulls’ history.

Yes, it was awesome, even if it might have ended on bad terms.

Over ten episodes, it was made apparent there were divisions between those on the floor and in the front office of this dynasty team. It was pointed out early and mentioned often, putting a bit of a somber yet necessary tone when looking back on these Bulls.

Director Jason Hehir addressed it well from the start to the finish, and there still is lament that the Bulls didn’t try for one more title with the group in 1999. Michael Jordan addressed that in the closing moments of the series, saying that he believes players would have returned on short term deals to attempt to do that.

“What if” becomes something associated with this dynasty, but it’s unnecessary.

Over the course of eight years, six-and-a-half of those including Jordan, Chicago was treated its greatest run by a professional sports team in history. There were six championships coming in bunches of three, with two teams that were unique in their own way, yet the same in others.

In ten episodes, we got to see how this dynasty was built, how it progressed over two eras of Jordan in the 1990s. We heard stories that were known and a healthy amount of those we didn’t, with small tidbits added along the way.

The real story behind the “Flu or Food Poisoning” game in 1997 was revealed along with the team’s final meeting in 1998 that included a “Jordan” poem in a spiritual note burning ceremony.

While it was pointed out how ferociously he competed with even his own teammates, the documentary showed a human side of Jordan a number of times. He had tears and asked for a break when talking about why he decided to drive his teammates so hard.

Yet as important as discovering new things about this team, we had an even better opportunity to remember what “The Last Dance” Bulls brought to the Chicago sports landscape. The greatest basketball player in history coupled with a team of characters that brought six championships in one decade.

It’s a reminder of what fans in that era had, what that franchise stood for, how they were “The Beatles” of the sports world in that time. Frustrations with the Bulls for a majority of the last two decades have clouded just how “cool,” as new general manager Marc Eversley said, the teams were of that era.

“Basketball Camelot” is a good way to describe that era, even if it did end on difficult terms. Don’t worry so much about the seventh title that got away, concern yourself with the six that happened.

Five-straight Sundays of “The Last Dance” should surely have driven that home.


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