The entire world is talking about ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” as the network finally aired the footage it’s been collecting for years now, and it did not disappoint.
This epic 10-part documentary series chronicles MJ’s career arc, and shows how dominant he was, from the moment he entered the league. Jordan was viewed as just another great player to have come out of college at the University of North Carolina, having won a national title there, given that there were many before him that also did exactly that. As the series shows, many critics believed the six-foot-six Jordan was simply “too small” for the NBA, and that he’d be just another guy on a roster.
And they couldn’t have been more wrong.
Jordan made an impact as soon as he entered the league, turning the Bulls into a contender in his rookie season. His work ethic and passion for the game had an immediate impact on his team’s psyche, and his production wasn’t too shabby, either. In fact, it was unheard of. MJ averaged 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.4 steals per game.
And, like a fine wine, Jordan just got better with age.
He went on to win his first title in 1991, and another in 1992 and 1993. The Bulls then took a few years off of dominance, possibly feeling pity for the rest of the league’s teams which it had dominated, until later three-peating again, from 1996-98.
But the final season — nicknamed by head coach Phil Jackson as “The Last Dance” — was the team’s most difficult, despite what the odds from NBA betting tips dictated. General manager Jerry Krause had told Jackson that 1998 would be his final season at the helm, and he relayed that to his players, just before the season was to begin.
It would’ve been a major distraction for most teams, but not Jordan’s Bulls, which went on to win their sixth title. However, that was a “trying year,” which Jordan stated on “The Last Dance,” when speaking about the team’s last dance, so to speak.
But Jordan and his Bulls persevered — rising above the turmoil when few others could have. That level of a distraction would have had a major impact on the psyche of even the league’s most mentally-strong players. However, the 28.7 points Jordan averaged per game — in an era where hard-nosed, tenacious defense was a common theme — helped propel the team to a victory over the Jazz in six games, cemented by Jordan’s signature title-winning shot over Bryon Russell.
Jordan is the greatest NBA player ever, and “The Last Dance” helped prove that point.