“The Last Dance” pulls in six million viewers

%22The+Last+Dance%22+pulls+in+six+million+viewers

David Trevino, Editor

Last night, over 6 million viewers worldwide tuned in worldwide to ESPN to witness lost footage of one of the most dominant sports teams ever. With more than 6 million viewers, “The Last Dance” became the most watched ESPN documentary ever, nearly doubling the next viewed total. Premiering on April 20, 2020,  the footage delved into the affairs of the 97’-98’ Chicago Bulls, and the historic years that led up to that season.

Going into that season the Bulls had won 5 championships out of the last 7 seasons, and Michael Jordan had defined himself as the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball. Even after asserting dominance over the entire league to a level not seen in decades, controversial business decisions and aging stars highlighted the Bulls superteam’s final year together. Having unlimited access to a film crew that season, the footage was never approved to be released by star Michael Jordan, until some believe the night of the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers championship parade, a hardfought title secured through a convincing performance from Lebron James.

Many considered this championship to be Lebron’s solidifying moment as the new ‘Goat’. Could Lebron James ever compare to the wonders of ‘Air Jordan’? Has Michael Jordan permanently secured the “GOAT’ title? Being a 18 year old who never got the chance to witness Jordan play, I believe the answer is yes because of 4 blatant reasons. 

  1. Michael was as fundamentally sound and naturally talented as any player ever.

On March 29, 1982, Michael Jordan hit a game winning shot as a freshman to win the NCAA tournament for his North Carolina Tar Heels. MJ has been hitting clutch shots since before his days in the NBA, due to a silky smooth jump shot that could be knocked down from anywhere. Throughout his career in the NBA Michael won 10 scoring titles, the most ever, and is fifth all time in career scoring totals. What made Mike’s scoring ability so unique was not only his freak athleticism, but also his perfectly trained fundamentals. Mike could go up and dunk over anyone in the paint, or he could use his countless hours of training to perform a circus layup that always seemed to fall in. Mike could either knock down a wide open jumper, or he could execute a fadeaway that left defenders hopeless. Michael’s uncanny jumping abilities along with his willingness to improve every aspect of his game, proved an unfair combination that reigned over the 90s and earned Michael the title of “Goat”.

      2. His game had no flaws. None

This reason for me speaks the most volume, as it shows how this man was basically  manufactured in some factory to be the all around perfect basketball player. Along with Michael’s unrivaled ability to score the ball and his flashy free throw line dunks that proved gravity defying, Michael could guard anyone in the league. There wasn’t a player in the league near his position that he could not pick up himself or handle a switch for.This would be a key factor in the start of Michael’s success, as his first two championships were won against hall of fame guards, Magic Johnson and Clyde Drexler. Michael was awarded a defensive player of the year award in the 1987-1988 season, and he is third all time in total steals. When comparing Mike to other ‘Goat Tier’ players I believe this is what truly sets him apart. Michael played a game with a fire, a passion that made him leave every ounce of what he had on the court. I’m sure if he could play every minute of his career he would, spending time above the rim and simultaneously stripping some of the best guards to ever play the game.

3. He left, came back, and 3-peated. For the second time.

What’s more of an MJ move than to retire right after winning your third consecutive championship, simply because there was nothing left to prove. That’s like the most popular teacher at the school deciding to retire just because 3 of her students each got perfect scores on their final exams. While the logic is somewhat there, when you think about it it’s a crazy move. Michael had been an avid baseball player since his youth, and hoped to live into his father’s footsteps and pursue a career in professional baseball. After a year of sub-par baseball performances, he decided it was time to hang up the cleats and return to his basketball throne. After losing in the playoffs in a season he barely played in the 1995 Playoffs, Mike would lead the bulls to the most impressive season in NBA history The Bulls would finish the year with a 72-10 record, and would win the Finals against an impressive duo of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp. After earning the 96’ Bulls the literal title of best team ever, Mike would cap off his three peat with an iconic game winning shot in game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals. Three-peating in any professional sport is a nearly impossible task. Michael performed this feat twice, and spent his time in between playing another professional sport. Who knows what would’ve happened if Mike never retired after his first three peat. It is not radical to believe that the Bulls would’ve won eight straight championships, and Mike would be on a throne elevated higher than the one he is on today. 

     4. Michael’s game went so much farther than basketball itself.

Besides from being an American sports hero, Michael became a societal icon worldwide during his reign in the 90s. Citizens from countries all over the world admired ‘His Airness’ and how easy he made the game of basketball seem. After leading the iconic 1992 Dream Team to an olympic gold medal, MJ became a household abbreviation for people across the globe. Other than becoming an international celebrity thus expanding the game of basketball, Mike defined 90s culture in America. With the launch of the “Air Jordan 1s’ Michael thrusted Nike into the global staple they are today.

Michael showed the world not only how to be an outstanding basketball player, but how to also look cool while you do it. ‘Jordan’ shoes became popularized throughout the 90s, and American fashion felt the effects of these shoes. The coolest Christmas gifts were no longer new bikes, or breakable toys, but a pair of ‘Jordan 11s’, the same ones MJ had on TV. Without Michael, the NBA would not nearly be on a popular worldwide scale as it is today, and the game would simply be as ‘cool’. People worldwide fell in love with this man not only for the great basketball player he was, but also how cool he looked when he played.