‘The Last Dance’ episodes I and II reaction

Kolby KickingWoman

#KickinWithKolby — Thoughts from a Native sports fan #Sportzball

First and foremost, I hope you are all healthy and staying safe during these unsettling times.

It’s been a hot minute since there’s been a #KickinWithKolby because it’s been a hot minute since there have been sports to write about and react to.

Thankfully though, the GOAT of GOAT’s has come to save the day.

Michael Jordan may not be the hero we need or the one we deserve but sports fans the world over are singing the praises of him and ESPN for accelerating the release of “The Last Dance,” the 10-part documentary following the Chicago Bulls during the 1997-98 season.

No more scouring YouTube for old highlights or full games. No more reruns or obscure sports on ESPN like cornhole. (Although I do love me a good game of cornhole.)

MJ, Scottie Pippen, Phil Jackson and company are here to give us brief relief from the COVID-19 nightmare.

The sports world is so thirsty for fresh content, episodes I and II averaged 6.1 million viewers Sunday night, according to Darren Rovell. That’s 40 percent of the average audience that tunes into an NBA Finals game!

As you can probably guess, I was glued to my TV Sunday night. Like the Michael Jackson gif eating popcorn, I was raring and ready to go. 

One of the more subtle takeaways I had from watching the first two episodes was the fact that ESPN authorized the documentary to be shown uncensored. That may not seem like much but it makes it feel more authentic and true to the way these guys are.

Speaking of authenticity, it cracked me up to know that the producers let Jordan drink during the course of his interviews that looked like they took place in his living room. Makes me wonder how many times he refilled it over the course of the interview.

I was born in the early ‘90s, so I freely admit to having only seen and remembering the tail end of Jordan’s career. I’ve seen footage and read about the NBA from the 1980’s and earlier but it certainly was a different league than it is today.

The scene where Jordan talked about finding most of his team in the hotel room with, and I’m paraphrasing here, “lines in that corner, the weed smokers over there, women over here” was a pretty crazy story.

MJ chuckled when he heard the nickname of the team before him arriving was the “Travelling Cocaine Circus” but as a young, impressionable rookie, he showed a lot of restraint by walking away from that situation.

Also, good on Jordan for not ratting out his teammates after all these years.

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Another thing I appreciated is the way the first two episodes humanized Jordan. The way we put athletes and celebrities on pedestals makes you sometimes forget they are human too.

I have long known the story about Jordan not making his high school basketball varsity team as a sophomore but when the producers had Jordan’s mother, Deloris, read a letter he sent as a freshman at the University of North Carolina was priceless.

At one point or another in our lives, we’ve all reached out to our parents for help. My favorite part was that he ended the letter with a “p.s.” and asked for more stamps. A different time indeed.

To that end, I really like how the documentary was edited together to include the flashbacks to give proper context. They go back in time just to give you enough information and understanding and then bring it back to the ‘98 season. It’s really well done.

Lastly, the thing I may enjoy and love the most, is the fact that many of us are watching and experiencing this documentary together. My entire timeline on Twitter was solely about #TheLastDance and it just brought a smile to my face.

I could go on and on and on about these first two episodes alone. They were great and I can’t wait to see where these next eight episodes take us. I didn’t even get into all the hoopla around general manager Jerry Krause, there will be plenty of time for that.

Who knows when live-sports are going to return, until then, I shall continue to bask in the awesomeness of ‘The Last Dance’ along with you! 

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Kolby KickingWoman, Blackfeet/A'aniih is a reporter/producer for Indian Country Today. He is from the great state of Montana and currently reports and lives in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter - @KDKW_406. Email - kkickingwoman@indiancountrytoday.com

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