THE GOAT

Examining what made 'The Last Dance' so fantastic

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein / Staff/ Getty Images.

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.

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College football needs to call a timeout on the 2020 season.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 are set to announce, maybe today, perhaps in a few weeks, whether they will play football this fall.

Already the Ivy League, Mountain West and Mid-American Conference have canceled their fall football season for health and safety reasons amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Power 5 conferences – the Big Ten, Pac-12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 and Southeastern Conference – should get onboard and put their football seasons on hold, too.

While some elected officials without medical degrees say that coronavirus amounts to little more than sniffles for young people, healthcare experts argue that college-age people, while they do recover quickly and may not exhibit symptoms, do contract and spread the virus.

There has been a 90 percent increase of young people testing positive for the virus in the past four weeks. More important, health experts say they can't measure the long-term effects of the virus, which may include brain damage, heart disease and reduced lung capacity.

There is a simple solution to play or not play college football this fall – postpone the season to next spring, when health experts will know more about the disease. There possibly could be a vaccine by then, which would allow fans back in stadiums.

Many high-profile college players and coaches weighed in on the debate Monday, almost unanimously saying that the 2020 football schedule should be played on schedule, starting in a few weeks.

Players, including Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, adopted the hashtag #WeWantToPlay. In a tweet, Lawrence said that players would be more at risk for coronavirus if the fall season doesn't move forward. "We are more likely to get the virus in everyday life than playing football."

Lawrence added that, if the football season is canceled or postponed, players "will be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely."

Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN, "Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home."

Two points: University presidents should listen to only one group of people – healthcare professionals – when they decide whether to cancel or postpone the fall football season. Yes, players want to play during this pandemic. But players also want to play when they are injured or their brain was just scrambled by a vicious tackle. We applaud athletes who play with a broken leg. We see players with concussions plead with their coaches to put them back in the game.

As for the argument that players are more likely to catch the virus if they're sent home – who's sending them home? These are student-athletes. Students. Most college campuses will be open with students attending classes this fall. Major college programs like Clemson have 85 full scholarships designated for football. Colleges won't take away players' scholarships if the football season is canceled. Clemson's campus will open Sept. 21 for in-person classes.

ESPN college football analyst Greg McElroy also said the season should be played as scheduled: "If they're (players) OK, then I'm OK." Texas governor Greg Abbott chimed in on the players' side. He said, "It's their careers, it's their health."

What "careers" is he talking about? There are about 775 colleges that play football. Only 1.7 percent of all those players will play in the NFL or another professional league. On Sept. 3, Rice University will play Army. It is unlikely that any of those players will have a career in football. However, given the excellence of academics at those colleges, players will have career opportunities in something other than football. The average NFL career is 2-1/2 years. Rice and Army grads can top that.

The NBA is completing its season in a bubble in Orlando, with players confined to their hotels between games. Only 22 teams are in Orlando for the lockdown. The Rockets organization sent about 35 people, including coaches, players and essential personnel to Orlando.

Baseball is playing its season outside a bubble. So many players are testing positive for coronavirus that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred last week threatened to end the season if teams don't do a better job of enforcing the league's health protocol. What's left is an unbalanced season. For example, the Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners have played 18 games, while the St. Louis Cardinals have played only five games. The ironically first-place Miami Marlins, which had 18 players test positive, have played only 10 games.

College football can't be played in a bubble. There are too many teams, with some having more than 100 players and 20 coaches. And no sport thrives on fans' excitement and marching bands like college football. Several colleges, including the University of Texas and Texas A&M, have stadiums that hold more than 100,000 fans. Even if college football could be played in a bubble, it would require isolating players from August to January, when they're supposed to be in class. I know … supposed.

This one is easy. For the health and safety of players, play the fall 2020 season in spring 2021.

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