In 2020, we're used to having things taken away from us. Even with the new normal, it doesn't seem fair that we had to say goodbye to The Last Dance on Sunday.
The ten part docu-series on Michael Jordan was awesome for many reasons but a lot of it was because for two hours every Sunday, we all could just be sports fans again.
Some have been critical that the documentary was too controlled by Jordan, a puff piece or manipulated to carry on Jordan's billion dollar legacy. Thats cool, I don't care if thats the case, I enjoyed having 10 hours of normalcy during the weirdest time in all of our lives and if that means we didn't get to the bottom of Jordan's gambling or family dynamics, its a trade I'm willing to make.
It's funny to me how the series reminded us all of how flawed our own memories are. There were literally dozens of moments in Jordan's career that we have heard about and watched for years but as I watched them again, I realized how much context was stripped away over time and in my brain was just "The Flu Game" or "The Shot". I forgot about the sequence of events that led to the moment or the team distractions that threatened the run. They just became titles and this documentary turned them back into stories.
The good news/bad news is now that we've seen the appetite for Jordan content, its a lock that we'll have hundreds of more hours down the road of more Jordan. I'm sure someone is working on the unauthorized documentary now. A series on his time with the Wizards feels inevitable as well. Id watch both.
My biggest critique of the 10 hours was only giving 15 minutes at the end of episode 10 to discuss the actual circumstances of Jordan and the Bulls divorcing. I know it was at the heart of every episode and teased throughout the show but it was still jarring to see so little time dedicated to Jordan's actual decision to walk away. Did he consider playing for another team? Did any teams make a compelling offer? How on god's green earth did Jerry Reinsdorf not spend a week panic calling Jordan offering him whatever he wanted to return?
Maybe we'll see other athletes getting the mega-documentary treatment.
Some have suggested Derek Jeter but baseball rewards boring. Unless the entire series is a montage of women entering and leaving Jeter's penthouse, I can't imagine it would break much new ground. There might be less to Jeter's career than meets the eye.
Maybe Tiger Woods? Tiger may be the first athlete to grow up in the modern media where we've had a saturation of all things Tiger Woods for over 20 years. That doesn't mean I wouldn't watch it but I don't think we've really had a break from it to create an appetite.
There are two athletes I can think of that could combine the nostalgia of the 90's with enough drama to carry multiple hours of episodes: Andre Agassi and Brett Favre.
Agassi was the 90's and his book, "Open", remains the best sports book I've ever read.
And Favre's entire career arc is just full of drama.
But those will have to wait until another day. For now, we've only got this one.
I grew up rooting against Jordan with everything I had. There's no athlete that left me feeling more helpless in that quest than Jordan. It was worth drudging up all those moments if it meant I could be immersed in pure 90's nostalgia every weekend. Now that it's gone, maybe I'll try and re-watch some Beavis and Butthead while listening to "Summertime" by Will Smith on a loop.