By now, you’ve probably heard of The Last Dance, the esteemed Michael Jordan documentary on Netflix. The documentary’s released 4 episodes at this point, and it’s quickly become one of the most esteemed sports documentaries of all-time, immediately gaining the love and favor of all kinds of basketball fans.
But what if you’re not a basketball fan and just want a good documentary to watch? Well, lucky for you, The Last Dance is one of the most accessible documentaries out there. The documentary takes you right into the heart of the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls season and takes time carefully explaining the significance of all the events leading up to the 1998 NBA Finals.
Yet, despite how easy it is to watch The Last Dance, it wouldn’t hurt to have a few bits of context before you take a dive into watching it. So here are a few things non-sports fans should know before watching The Last Dance:
Michael Jordan is the GOAT – Is He?
Most people would probably tell you that Michael Jordan is, without question, the GOAT. Five MVP trophies, and six championships without ever losing in the Finals should say it all for most people. However, recently, that argument’s been contested a lot by a man you’ve probably heard of — LeBron James.
As LeBron’s career has grown longer and stronger, many players, critics, and fans are starting to call LeBron the greatest of all time. And this threat to Jordan’s throne isn’t just by LeBron, but many fans are also starting to call the late Kobe Bryant the GOAT too, while others stick with older players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, and Magic Johnson.
This is one thing that makes The Last Dance such an interesting watch. It’s essentially a reaffirmation of all the things that have led to Michael Jordan being almost universally agreed upon as the greatest basketball player who ever lived. So, as you start your journey with the documentary, keep this in mind. Because you can either be a witness to Jordan’s greatness, or one of its critics.
Jordan’s Career Had its Ups and Down
While, again, Michael Jordan is considered by the majority of sports fans to be the greatest basketball player ever, his career wasn’t without ups and downs. Yes, Jordan and his Bulls basically dominated the entire 1990’s, but there were a couple of bumps before getting there.
For example, early in his career, Jordan was known as a great player who couldn’t lead his teammates to a championship. He was always second to 80’s greats Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, and was consistently knocked out of the playoffs by the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons.
Similarly, the season which The Last Dance covers – the 1997-98 NBA season – wasn’t all good times. There was a lot of internal turmoil within the Chicago Bulls organization, that the players had to continuously fight against.
Thankfully, The Last Dance goes into these ups and downs, and you’re not left by yourself to understanding them. It’s just a nice thing to remember before you watch it, that all legends start from scratch, even Michael Jordan.
It Wasn’t Just Jordan
The last thing you need to know before watching The Last Dance is knowing that the documentary isn’t all Michael Jordan, and really, it never was. And The Last Dance gives you a look into all the characters that made the 1998 Bulls so special.
The documentary will introduce you to the greatest basketball sidekick of all time in Scottie Pippen, and how he struggled with feeling underappreciated by the Bulls organization. Also coaching mastermind Phil Jackson and his eccentric way of getting everyone on the same page. You also get to know Dennis Rodman, a former rival-turned-teammate who balanced his extravagant lifestyle with being one of the hardest workers on the basketball court.
Outside of them, you learn more about the different characters who made the Bulls such a colorful team, and one of the most memorable NBA dynasties of all time.