Examining what made 'The Last Dance' so fantastic
Since 'The Last Dance' has come to an end, what were the most memorable moments? Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Phil Jackson gave us some laughs, intense moments, and sad situations. But what really stood out?
As the documentary started, it gave a great storyline of Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, and Phil Jackson in the first four episodes. This allowed people to see their storylines of their childhood and uprising of each individual.
Jordan was the start of the organization because of his star ability from North Carolina. People always wondered what Jordan was like behind the camera. Over the years there were stories that Jordan was not too fond of people off the court. 'The Last Dance' showed people that Jordan was entertaining, electric, and very comedic off the court. Jordan even battled different challenges of losing his father and retiring from basketball because of the media. Jordan played professional baseball for 14 months before returning to basketball.
But on a serious note, Jordan played the game of basketball on a high level. Episodes four through eight emphasized Jordan's competitiveness and how he challenged his teammates. He was extremely hard on his teammates, but each of them accepted his challenge to win championships. Michael just wanted to see his teammates to succeed.
Last Dance has shown that Jordan was a true successor on the court because of his hard work. He was looked at as a superhero off the court by fans and was big around the world. We cannot be too quick to make LeBron James the goat of basketball.
Scottie Pippen came from a small country town in Arkansas. It was incredible that he grew five inches in the summer and another two into the season. He worked extremely hard for a scholarship at Central Arkansas. As he improved, scouts started to notice his talent. Pippen was then drafted fifth by the Seattle Super Sonics. Then the Bulls had made a trade for Pippen, to give Jordan some help.
When Phil Jackson took over the head coaching position for the Bulls, he implemented the triangle offense. That offense caused Pippen to shine more in the NBA. Over Pippens early years with the Bulls, he was in the shadow of Jordan. Phil Jackson's offense allowed everybody to touch the ball equally. As the offense grew on Pippen, it allowed him to make All-Star games and be a great number two option for the Bulls. Pippen was a great two-way player as well. He was the main reason they were able to beat the Pistons and Lakers in 1991.
On a sad note, Pippen was underpaid for a great player. As a rookie, he signed a contract for seven years and 18 million dollars. Pippen signed a bad deal he could not get out of. It caused tension in the last season with the Bulls. Pippen and Krause got into multiple arguments because of the contract.
Rodman was a rebounding force. He brought his ferocious efforts from the Detroit Pistons. Rodman gave Jordan a tough time on defense when he played for the Pistons. Rodman was so talented that he could guard all spots on defense when asked. His hustling skills were unbelievable. Rodman was the toughest player on the court and forced his tenacious will on other players. He even shared his strategy on rebounding the basketball.
Now Rodman did come from a rough background growing up as a kid in Dallas, Texas. His mom kicked him out the house by age of 18. Rodman was homeless and staying with different friends while growing up. While he was homeless, it never stopped him from going to gym and playing basketball. As he kept playing basketball, a coach from Southeastern Oklahoma State started to recognize his talent on the court. Rodman later earned a scholarship at the university to play basketball.
One could argue that Rodman created load management as he took a trip to Las Vegas during the season. He was gone for 48 hours, so he could refocus. Rodman in general was just entertaining on and off the court. He was well known for the different outfits he would wear and his random hair dye.
When Doug Collins was fired surprisingly, the Bulls had to move Phil Jackson from assistant coach to head coach. He brought in the triangle offense that he learned from Tex Winter. Jackson had seen equal opportunity throughout the entire team. He did not want Jordan scoring 37 or 38 points per game. Jackson knew the Bulls could not win that way. Even though they went to the Eastern Conference Finals back-to-back years. Jackson knew that Jordan needed to trust his teammates when it came to beating Detroit. When Jordan believed in the offense, they were able to win championships.
Before Jackson started coaching, he played his college basketball at North Dakota University and for the New York Knickerbockers. He won two championships in 1970 and 1973. Jackson started coaching for Isabela as a head coach in 1984. Then he won a championship with the Albany Patroons in 1984 as a head coach. Krause later brought Jackson to the Bulls to be the assistant coach.
Fun fact about Jackson is that he has 14 championships on his resume.
As I go through the most memorable moments of 'The Last Dance,' it saddens me that the docuseries is over. It reminds us not to forget Jordan's greatness, that Pippen is the best version of Robin to Batman, and Rodman was incredible on the boards. Also, it reminds us that the 1995-1996 Bulls team is the best of all-time.