It's now been 26 years since the Chicago Bulls ended the NBA season with a record of 72 wins and ten losses. Back in 1996, Michael Jordan's Bulls won the first NBA Championship of their second 'three-peat' and they'd go on to write their name in the history of the game.
In 2020, Netflix brought this epic story back to life in a mini docuseries that took the pandemic-hit world by storm. The Last Dance captured the imaginations of sport fans across the globe since the very first episode and, like a sporty Tiger King, with as much mayhem and nearly as many bad haircuts (we’re looking at you, Rodman), the series proved a perfect antidote for the self-isolation blues many of us had to deal with at the height of the pandemic.
More than anything, The Last Dance showed a whole new generation of sports fans why everybody wanted to be “Like Mike” and what it is about ‘His Airness’ that spellbound the entire world between the mid-eighties and late-nineties.
With unprecedented behind-the-scenes footage, The Last Dance put fans right in the middle of the action and, for the first time, we could see exactly what made Jordan tick on and off the court. Whether it be Cristiano Ronaldo or Tiger Woods, to be the best requires a drive like no other, and Jordan was no different.
From his absolute devotion to training to trash-talking teammates, Jordan is portrayed as a man who’ll go to any length to get the win - you might not come out of the ten episodes necessarily liking the man, but damn it, you will respect him.
It’s not just its leading man where The Last Dance excels though, with a whole range of supporting characters stealing the show in their own rights at various points throughout the series. Dennis Rodman, the aforementioned wacky-haired enigma, shines whenever he’s in it, whether that’s going AWOL on a 48 hour Vegas vacation with Carmen Electra or going AWOL to wrestle with Hulk Hogan (yes, there’s a pattern).
Phil Jackson, one of the greatest ever coaches in any sport, is a consistent voice of reason throughout, whilst teammates like Steve Kerr and Scottie Pippen bring fascinating insight in what it’s like to play in one of greatest teams ever and with the greatest player. Even the smaller players in the Bulls’ locker room have a place to shine - the father/son rapport Jordan develops with the head of his security, Gus, after the tragic death of his real father, is one of the series’ most beautiful and touching moments.
The debate on who the basketball ‘GOAT’ is will rage on for centuries, whether that be Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James or somebody else, but no viewer will come out of this unclear on what ‘His Airness’ did for the sport and what his legacy means, not only to the city of Chicago but to sports fans across the world.
The Last Dance put forth an incredible effort in bringing to life the legend of Michael Jordan and it really is, still, unmissable viewing.