“the last dance” not quite a slam dunk

by colin duffy, staff reporter

credit: espnpressroom

“the last dance,” a 10 part documentary portraying the rise of the undisputed, greatest basketball player of all time, was originally set to air in june 2020. however, to quench our thirst for sports during isolation, espn ultimately decided to release the series two months early. 

for those of us too young to witness the greatness of michael jordan, the episodes provided a perfect display of all we missed out on. with each episode, a different story of jordan was told, stemming from his rookie season to his final season in chicago. the 15 year period from 1984-1998 provided the audience a wide range of varying content, illustrating the highs and lows of jordan’s tenure with the chicago bulls, whether it was his first three-peat or his first retirement following his father’s death. the depth and overall amount of content provided in “the last dance” contributed to making the series special.

the documentary itself was not the usual boring, dreaded educational program your parents forced you to watch. every sunday night, i was glued to my seat anxiously waiting for the newest episode to start. “the last dance” kept my attention focused solely to the tv in my family room for the full 60 minutes. the 10 part series felt more like a show you love to binge on netflix. “the last dance” cemented itself as an instant classic in the culture of sports documentaries. 

creating ripples in the sports world, “the last dance” sparked a new desire for sports documentaries. the show provided more than just sports coverage: it highlighted the most memorable experiences of jordan that occurred both on and off the court. 

however, after episode five, the documentary became slightly repetitive. in episodes 1-5, espn highlighted different key moments and individuals from jordan’s career, from dennis rodman to phil jackson. following the introduction of the influential characters during the rise of the goat, the later episodes fell redundant as it almost seemed like they were trying to find the smallest moments to fill those episodes as in each one they repeatedly focused on “someone making things personal” with jordan. 

“the last dance” earned itself 4 stars out of 5. although 4 is a high score, it did not completely live up to its expectations. it was clear that the documentary was biased and dictated by jordan. the series consisted of what jordan wanted the audience to see. if the documentary was created unbiased, without jordan’s final say on the content, it would without a doubt earn a 4.5/10. “the last dance” is still a great documentary

but could have been better under different circumstances. if it was produced by a company like hbo, the documentary would have been much better. again, this is the reason the last dance is not a 4.5/10, but that does not mean it hasn’t cemented itself as a classic in the world of sports.