With the release of the ESPN documentary The Last Dance, fans of Michael Jordan and his 1990s Chicago Bulls teams have been given unprecedented access to one of the greatest teams ever. Taken from footage shot during Jordan’s final year in Chicago, the documentary is a fascinating behind the scenes look at the drama of the season. One particular anecdote by Jordan raised more than a few eyebrows, however.
Why Michael Jordan?
Jordan exists on a plane that few athletes could ever dream to touch. He has the name recognition of Babe Ruth, the business prowess of Warren Buffett, and the competitive spirit of Kobe Bryant.
Jordan hasn’t played basketball in nearly 20 years, but he is still considered to be the apex of the sport by many. A player who was notoriously protective of his image during his playing days, Jordan has mellowed out.
During his NBA career, he had more accolades than anyone could count. Six rings, five MVPs, countless defensive accolades, hundreds of commercials, and a theme song that still resonates to this day. Jordan might be the greatest athlete who ever lived, and to top that off he has become a brand unto himself.
Jordan was notoriously not an easy teammate to play with, as Steve Kerr has noted on more than one occasion, but he got results. His Bulls teams got all six of their Championships during an eight-year run, with Jordan’s retirement bridging the two three-peats.
With sports at a standstill, too, it was the perfect time for ESPN to unleash the mega-hit to an audience that was starving for new sports content.
What is ‘The Last Dance’ about?
The Last Dance tells the story of the 1998 Bulls, but it also tells the story of the entire Jordan era with the team. Interviews with Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and a slew of more recent players and personalities make it the most in-depth look that this team has ever gotten. As always, however, it is Jordan who is the star of the show.
Every section of the show cuts to a modern-day Jordan nursing a glass of bourbon and spilling the beans on everything from his play behind the scenes to what he thought about his rivals. Archive footage shows a lighter side to Jordan, too. There are numerous shots of him playful razzing his teammates as well as giving them stern lectures.
The documentary was originally supposed to air in June, but ESPN made the wise decision to bring it back two months while nearly everybody was locked indoors. It worked, and social media got buzzing over nearly every aspect. Far and away the most memorable moment, however, is Jordan’s description of his early teammates.
Michael Jordan talks about cocaine and the NBA
If Jordan is to be believed, he was a relatively innocent young man heading into the NBA. The 1970s and early 1980s are notorious in the NBA for a rampant cocaine problem.
After all, many of these rich young men loved partying as much as basketball and had the means to acquire the expensive drug. When asked about this “Traveling Cocaine Circus,” Jordan burst out laughing and shared a story of walking in on some teammates.
“I walk in and practically the whole team was in there,” Jordan said, reports USA Today. “And it was like, things I’ve never seen in my life, you know, as a young kid. You got your lines over here, you got your weed smokers over here, you got your women over here. So the first thing I said, ‘look man, I’m out.’ Because all I can think about is if they come and raid this place, right about now, I am just as guilty as everyone else that’s in this room.”
Jordan’s combination of bemusement and candid insight into this issue set the social media world ablaze. After all, he was notoriously no-nonsense when it came to dealing with teammates.
The amusing stories do not end there, however, as The Last Dance will continue running into May and more comes out about the most popular team in NBA history.
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