Blog: 6 Things From The Last Dance

Jared Sandler
May 20, 2020 - 8:50 am

In honor of six titles, here are six things I learned from The Last Dance.

*I can’t believe MJ didn’t even eclipse $100 million earned in player contracts over his career. That’s nuts. I guess it was just the times, though. Much like Tiger helped everyone around him make more money in golf, there’s no doubt Jordan did that in the NBA. I guess I already knew that, but I didn’t realize how little of it he made from contracts.

*Phil Jackson is one of the best coaches of all-time. I don’t think that’s revelatory. I’d be lying, however, if I didn’t admit that when considering that statement, it didn’t creep into my head in his two very successful stops—Chicago and Los Angeles—he had arguably the greatest player ever in Chicago and arguably two of the top 10—certainly two of the top 15—all-time in LA. What I did learn, however, was more as to why he was so great. It’s not easy to earn the respect of a great player—see Lebron and all the coaches he’s had—so he gets credit for that, for sure. He also truly knew how to balance personalities and knew when to enforce rules and when to demonstrate leniency. How he not only handled Rodman, but did so in a way that others didn’t rebel over not receiving the same type of leniency is a true credit to Phil. He really was the “Zen Master.”

*Jordan never really had a close relationship with a teammate, did he? Not saying he wasn’t and isn’t still friends with some of them, but through 10 episodes we heard of some close relationships he shared with folks and none of them were teammates—or, at least, teammates once he established himself as a superstar. Again, that’s not to say he wasn’t friends with them or didn’t hang out them but I think it was interesting that relationships didn’t extend deeply. Teammates talked about how it was hard to connect with him because, through no fault of his own outside of his greatness, he lived under this incredibly bright spotlight and on an unfathomable pedestal that it was just different. When you play on a bad team, you don’t have as much fun and maybe don’t have time to forge those tight relationships because they don’t keep bad teams together. Typically we hear of special bonds shared by players on good teams but I just don’t know if Jordan was a part of that.

*I had NO IDEA that Bryon Russell was on Jordan’s “list” as he mentioned due to that interaction with MJ while MJ was playing baseball. It makes that shot over Russell just that much sweeter.

*They only played in TWO Game 7s during their six title runs. Incredible. I also knew that offense wasn’t as dynamic back then but to see some of the scores in those playoff games was kind of funny.

*I didn’t realize, or simply didn’t remember, that the MLB strike is what pushed Jordan back to hoops. He probably would have found his way back eventually I guess I didn’t realize that this expedited the process as but he was in camp and ready to go for year two on the diamond.

More an observation than something I learned: I thought it was interesting that Carmen Electra got more airtime than Jordan’s kids and ex-wife—whom he was with throughout those title runs—combined. Jordan’s kids barely made an appearance his ex did not. Maybe she elected not to participate but you’d think that she’d be able to provide pretty good insight.