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The Last Dance (2020)The Last Dance (2020)

This mini-series (10 episodes) by ESPN Films and NBA Entertainment will have an obvious appeal to sports fans in particular, but on the other hand, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were one of the most powerful cultural phenomena of the 1990's decade. Jordan was drafted by the Bulls in 1984, and under his talent, drive, and leadership, the Bulls won six NBA championships during the years 1991 to 1998. The coach Phil Jackson was integral to this crazy success, with his insistence on a controversial "triangle offense" and a holistic approach not just to basketball but to all of life (both of his parents were pentecostal ministers). In fact, Jackson went on to win five more NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers (see his book Eleven Rings) after he left the Bulls. The personal interviews with the players are interesting. The archival film footage is fun to watch, especially the "never seen before" footage behind the scenes and in the locker rooms. You learn how complicated basketball is, and how hard it is to win a championship (much less six of them). Each episode focuses on a particular person (Scotty Pippen, the outrageous Dennis Rodman, the controversial manager Jerry Krause, etc.). The film also makes it clear that, more than anything, NBA basketball is a lucrative business. Today Michael Jordan is worth $1.6 billion. The Last Dance has received almost universal acclaim, although some feel that parts of the story are airbrushed, and that it's a gross conflict of interest for Jordan to have played a central role in making a movie about himself. I watched this film on Netflix.

Dan Clendenin:

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