With much anticipation and a pushed-up release date, Netflix unveiled the first two episodes of its ten part docuseries, The Last Dance, on April 19, chronicling the last season of the great Chicago Bulls dynasties of the 1990s. The series, which includes unreleased footage, as well as current interviews from former players and personnel, has been trending at the top of Netflix since its debut. Already, the first episodes have revealed new facts, and deeper insights between players, coaches, and the Bulls’ front office. Here’s what we have learned so far.
1. A young Michael Jordan walked in on his teammates having a cocaine party
Episode one starts by profiling the series’ protagonist, and budding Bulls superstar, Michael Jordan. In it, a present-day Michael provides shocking insight into life on the road as a 21-year old rookie. He describes knocking on his teammates’ doors looking for someone to hang out with. When a door opens, he’s completely shocked.
Describing the scene, Jordan said, “Almost the whole team was in there. There were things I had never seen before in my life. You got your lines over here, your weed smokers over here, your women over here.” In the end, MJ left the room fearing what would happen if it was raided by police. Perhaps a preamble of the legacy he would cement in the years to follow.
2. Drama In The Front Office
Throughout the 1990s, the Bulls organization as a whole maintained a squeaky clean image both on and off the court (not including one, Dennis Rodman). Certainly it may have come as a surprise to learn that there was quite a bit of animosity between the players and executive staff. Enter former Bulls general manager and series villain, Jerry Krause.
Before the 1998 season began, Krause made an announcement that it would be beloved coach, Phil Jackson’s, last year with the Chicago Bulls. The surprise news didn’t go over well with Bulls players or fans, including Michael Jordan. In episode two, several scenes depict Michael and star teammate, Scottie Pippen, hurling insults at Krause, who is in effect, their boss.
3. The Last Dance
Michael vocally opposed the announcement made by the team’s general manager, and sided with his coach. Adding to the drama, he stated publicly that he would not return to the Bulls if Phil Jackson was not the head coach. The uncertainty of the star player and head coach’s future tortured Bulls fans throughout the season.
The 1997-1998 season almost imploded before it began. Head coach, Phil Jackson, had to be wooed back to the team after retreating to his ranch in Montana. After inking a new contract, he did return and the team collectively accepted their fate. From the drama came Jackson’s philosophical framing of the season. He affectionately titled it, The Last Dance.
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