Every NBA fan needs to watch ‘The Last Dance’ on Netflix
With the 2019-20 NBA season postponed until its tentative July 31st start date, there has been little to celebrate in recent months. As American sporting events make their slow return, fans are craving to get in on the action any way possible.
Basketball fan, take a moment to rejoice: Netflix is here to help quell your boredom. The streaming service will drop ESPN’s ten-episode docuseries The Last Dance on July 19th, just under two weeks before the NBA season is set to resume. This is one bingeworthy series that every NBA fan needs to watch.
The Last Dance: No dance, all dynasty
The Last Dance follows the famous 1997-98 Chicago Bulls and their threepeat, winning a sixth NBA title in eight seasons. The team was considered at the end of its dynasty years, with uncertain futures for some of its aging stars like Scottie Pippin, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, and most notably, Michael Jordan.
In fact, the very phrase “The Last Dance” was coined by their coach, Phil Jackson, to mark the core team’s final go-around before these stars were expected to leave or retire.
For young fans who were not alive to see them in person, the 1997-98 Bulls represented towering strength & athleticism and continues to be chosen among the ranks as one of the best NBA teams of all time. It just so happened that the Bulls allowed a film crew to document their team for the entirety of this championship season.
Unique behind-the-scenes and previously unreleased footage comes together to create a basketball lover’s delight. The Last Dance takes a nonlinear approach to documentary, sandwiching nearly 100 interviews with individuals close to the team, profiles of its players, and season highlights between the Bulls’ championship win.
Fans watch big teams for bigger stars
While the entirety of The Last Dance attempts to paint a rounded portrait of the Bulls 1998 championship team, there’s no denying that it puts one player & star at its forefront: Michael Jordan.
Aside from being one of the most famous & rich athletes of his time, there’s little to say about Michael Jordan. For anyone unaware of the player’s profound influence on the game, The Last Dance follows Jordan’s career from his high school years through the NBA and beyond, tackling his business & marketing ventures.
The Last Dance offers the opportunity for fans of all ages to experience or relive some incredible moments from MJ’s whole career, but as significant, his 1998 season: “The Shot” from his legendary elimination of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the first-round playoffs and his final shot of the 1998 season to win the NBA championships in Game 6 over the Utah Jazz.
The Last Dance filmmakers knew what fans wanted
The Last Dance received overwhelming critical praise for its use of footage and editing. We’re even granted a fifth episode of the series dedicated to the late Kobe Bryant. For fans who have grown up watching Bryant, seeing twenty-year-old interview footage and recordings of one-on-one play with Jordan sends timeless tingles up our spines.
The basketball community – particularly those featured in the footage – contributed mixed reviews on The Last Dance. Several former players do not agree with how they were portrayed, and the bias centered around Michael Jordan as the focal point of the entire narrative. (On the other hand, a little fanservice never hurt nobody.)
Even ESPN concluded their coverage of the series with an article titled “The Last Dance: The untold story of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls”, not straying away from their own take on the series. Michael Jordan was filmed as he played & still lives: a part bigger than a whole.
The Last Dance: A must-watch
Saturated with drama & tell-alls, the incredible footage in The Last Dance pays homage to the history of American sports, driven home by one of the most notable teams ever conceived in the game of basketball.
Until we see the return of the NBA, fans can settle into their TV-side seats and catch all of the action of The Last Dance. Immerse yourself in the glory of a season as though it is playing out for the very first time.
Whether looking to refresh one’s memory or learn about some of the greatest moments and players in the NBA’s recent history, The Last Dance is a must-watch for any basketball fan looking to fill the void left by the league’s absence.