The Last Dance, ESPN’s brilliant ten-part documentary about the Jordan era of the Chicago Bulls and their last championship season, ended last night and it has a lot of people feeling a lot of things. Personally, I’m pretty bummed that I don’t get to throw myself into any more of this amazing series about my favorite team in my favorite sport. I imagine my wife is relieved that she no longer has to watch this with the additional “Drufke commentary”, which is me telling her stories she does not want to hear during commercial breaks while also trying to justify how I only got one of the trivia questions correct. For Bryon Russell, I’m sure he’s trying to find a cave to hide in for a few weeks after being reminded that after telling a retired Jordan in 1993 that he would have been able to guard him, he unwittingly gave Jordan the fuel he would need to straight out embarrass Russell by scoring on him to win back-to-back finals.
Director Jason Hehir gave us everything we could have possibly asked for, and then some. This is a marvel in not just sports films, but as a documentary. Even I, a die-hard Bulls fan (I can, for example, spell Jud Buechler’s name correctly without looking), learned a whole lot of new things about this era of Chicago basketball. For example, I learned that John Paxson is now bald and kinda looks like Lex Luthor, which is apropos if you have paid attention to the decisions he has made since entering the Bulls’ front office.
However, as much as The Last Dance gave me, when it ended, I found myself asking four big questions. I present those to you here, so we may ponder them together.
#1. Why Is Scottie Pippen Not Singing?
I am sure that I’ve heard Scottie Pippen speak before, but certainly not recently. Which is why I was so surprised by his absolutely gorgeous and deep voice. If you had the bass on your television’s surround sound turned up even a little during this, I have no doubt that your house has serious structural damage now.
Man, that voice booms, and there’s only one thing Pip should be devoting the rest of his life to: singing bass in a doo-wop group. Think about Scottie laying down the “dip dip dip” to a song like “Get A Job” by The Silhouettes. That would bop so fucking hard.
Sure, Pippen is one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players and, AT WORST, the third greatest Bulls player in franchise history. But with a career change, he could be the most undeniable beautiful bass singer of this century.
#2. Does Michael Jordan Need To Get To A Meeting?
Obviously, a documentary about the Bulls is going to have A LOT of Jordan. Hehir clearly has a good rapport with the best player to ever bounce a ball, and clearly has made Jordan comfortable enough to get into a lot of stuff he’s never talked publicly about.
And there is always a glass of booze in the shot.
The constant presence of a glass of, I’m guessing, scotch, is definitely noticeable, and by the end of the second episode, I was starting to worry if Jordan was an alcoholic. Also, if he is, I kinda get it. Because Jordan has lived a weird life, and I understand him needing something to help take the edge off.
I don’t think there’s a single person alive who wouldn’t want Michael Jordan’s talents and abilities. But, I also know this: I wouldn’t want MJ’s life. It seems sad and lonely. There’s probably one other person alive today who knows what it’s like to live as the most famous person in pop culture, and that’s Britney Spears. Spears acted out by shaving her head and marrying a dude named Jason Alexander (not the actor), while Jordan acted out by constantly harassing his teammate Scott Burrell, a man who, by all indications, may have been the nicest guy in basketball.
Maybe instead of drinking Gatorade and always trying your hardest, being “like Mike” involves a butt ton of Johnny Walker Blue and thinking a lot about the relationship with your deceased father. If that’s the case, Jordan and I have a lot in common.
#3. Could The Bulls Have Won Another Title?
If you’ve not seen The Last Dance, first off: congrats for making it this far. Second, here’s the breakdown: The first episode starts in the preseason to the Bulls 1997-1998 season, where GM Jerry Krause makes it abundantly clear: this will be head coach Phil Jackson’s last year. Jordan has made it known that he will only play for Jackson, so the team comes to understand that this will be the last year that they’re all playing together.
However, Hehir reveals at the very end is something that no Bulls fan had ever heard before: following the championship rally in Grant Park, owner Jerry Reinsdorf called in Phil Jackson and gave him the chance to coach one more season, which Jackson declined because he didn’t want to be the guy to start the rebuild.
You know who else never knew that? Michael Jordan.
You can see Jordan’s stunned face as he watches a clip of Reinsdorf explaining the situation. He immediately comes back and explains that if Jackson was coming back, this would not have been a rebuilding year as the key players (Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, etc.) would have definitely signed one-year contracts for a chance to try for a four-peat.
But would they have been successful?
Let’s say that this Bulls team returns, everyone a year older, for the 1998-1999 season. The Bulls are a playoff lock in the Eastern Conference, probably getting a spot in the top half and knocking out a team like the Miami Heat. They’re definitely a winner in the first round, but then here is where things get tricky. Because just to get to the NBA Finals, they have to beat either the Knicks or the Pacers or maybe BOTH. Then you have to beat Duncan, Robinson and the Spurs.
There are so many question marks. What if there was an injury? What if Rodman went nuts and just left the team? What if Scott Burrell snaps and murders Jordan in his sleep?
It would be one of the hardest, if not the hardest, road to a championship the Bulls would face. But would you ever bet against Jordan?
#4. What Is Going On With Bill Wennington?
Let’s just start with the obvious: Bill Wennington has weird facial hair. He looks like he’s waiting for George Miller to cast him in a new Mad Max movie.
But let’s talk about something else.
I had watched the first two episodes, and then I saw this tweet from Fancy Boy Brandon Andreasen.
After that, all I could see in any of the Wennington interviews was that slot machine. And I had so many questions. Bill, where did you get this slot machine? Why is it in this room? Why did you want it in the shot?
One this is made abundantly clear: Michael Jordan may have had a gambling addiction, but Bill Wennington is the man with the real problem.