Upcoming Michael Jordan documentary ‘The Last Dance’ grants fans a ticket to Air Jordan Show

Perhaps one of the most anticipated sports documentaries ever, The Last Dance will focus on NBA legend Michael Jordan and his final championship season in 1997.

Creative Commons / Graphic Gracie Watt

Perhaps one of the most anticipated sports documentaries ever, “The Last Dance” will focus on NBA legend Michael Jordan and his final championship season in 1997.

Michael Jordan is the consensus-based best basketball player of all time. Before counter-arguments are presented, please watch “The Last Dance,” a 10-part documentary series on Jordan’s final championship season in 1997. It begins streaming on April 19. 

According to USA Today, the documentary series was scheduled to debut after the NBA Finals in June. However, given that Americans are in desperate need for streaming content while in quarantine, ESPN pushed the release date up by two months. 

The docu-series is scheduled to run for a total of five one-hour Sunday broadcasts, ending on May 17, per USA Today. Fans can watch the docu-series on ESPN via cable, satellite or live TV streaming services including Hulu + Live TV, Sling TVAT&T TV and Youtube TV, per Business Insider

The docu-series is arguably the most anticipated sports show of 2020. According to Business Insider, once COVID-19 halted the NBA season, fans begged ESPN for an earlier release date. Most notably, NBA superstar LeBron James advocated for the accelerated release date. Heck, why wouldn’t they? “The Last Dance” has been in the works since 1997; a 23 year waiting period. 

The ESPN and Netflix production doesn’t aim to solve the never-ending debate of whether Jordan is better than James, but rather, present fans with never-before-seen footage of Jordan and the Chicago Bulls during the 1997-1998 NBA season

In an interview with USA Today, “The Last Dance” director Jason Hehir revealed his seemingly insurmountable tasks while creating the docu-series: take 10,000 hours of archived footage, add interviews with more than 100 people and turn it into about 8½ hours of television.

Yet, upon speaking to USA Today, Hehir also revealed something magical about Jordan. Hehir remembers Christmas in 1985 when his father gifted him with “two tickets to the Air Jordan Show.” 

Jordan was electric on the court but, most appropriately, Jordan was magical. In fact, he was considered superhuman. When Jordan entered the arena, his presence was felt. Jordan was the type of player who was a nightmare for opposing teams, but a beloved figure by Chicago Bulls fans.

No current NBA player is as popular or electric — not even James, or even Stephen Curry. Zion Williamson, if he lives up to the hype, can perhaps earn Jordan’s prestige level. However, this isn’t about settling an argument, it’s about celebrating Jordan’s greatness. 

While it is impossible to document Jordan’s greatness in its entirety, “The Last Dance” looks promising and entertaining. My only concern is whether the docu-series will present fans with too much game footage and fail to provide enough context. 

Yes, Jordan is an NBA legend, but some Americans weren’t born yet or were too young to witness Jordan’s magical displays during the 1997-1998 NBA season. Not to mention, there are those too blinded by current NBA superstars to recognize Jordan’s basketball royalty. 

I’m not saying this ESPN docu-series is the be-all-end-all, but when “The Last Dance” airs on April 19, we should all be lucky to be in the presence, at least virtually, of a basketball immortal. As Hehir told USA Today, “I would call it a privilege.”