ESPN ‘The Last Dance’ Review (Episodes 5-8)

An overall review of the entire documentary follow after episodes 9 and 10.

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Michael Serrao, Social Media Director

My last article was a review of episodes 1-4 of ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance.’ This article will continue the review but this time be about episodes 5-8. In case you did not read my last article, this is a documentary that is based around the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls and the story of Michael Jordan. The two stories are being told at the same time and by the end of the 10th episode, the story of Michael Jordan meets up with the story of the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls. So far, we have been through eight of the ten episodes, but episodes 5-8 will be the focus of this article.

In this chunk of episodes, ESPN takes us through the first 3-peat that Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls achieved. Jordan led the Bulls to championships in three consecutive years; 1991, 1992, 1993. An impossible feat that no other NBA legend had done up until Jordan’s era. Jordan was always compared to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird when the conversation for the greatest basketball player in the world came up. But, neither Johnson nor Bird had led their teams to three consecutive championships.

After completing the 3-peat and solidifying himself as an all time great, Michael Jordan suffered a horrible tragedy that created an unexpected plot twist in the story of his legacy. Michael’s father, James, was murdered in a parking lot in North Carolina. This loss deeply affected Jordan to the point where he decided to retire from basketball to pursue his dreams in playing professional baseball because that was something his father always wanted for him.

Jordan deciding to leave basketball after dominating the NBA with the Chicago Bulls for three straight seasons was seen as an absolute shock to the entire sports world. Jordan was not that good at baseball either as he never made it to the majors. It seemed that playing baseball was a relief from his NBA stardom as he claimed that he wanted to be “one of the guys” and that is exactly what he was when he played with the Chicago White Sox, double A team, the Birmingham Barons.

Episodes 5-8 take us through the end of Michael Jordan’s spiritual vacation in minor league baseball when the MLB lockout caused a wave of replacement players to be brought up to the MLB so the games can continue without the striking players. Jordan refused to take part in the replacement player group as he wanted to one day play in the actual MLB against all time MLB talent.

Subsequently, Jordan decides to return to basketball with his famous quote that was a headline around the world; “I’m back.” The Bulls needed a season to get back to their old ways and struggled in 1995. But that was all the time they needed as Jordan and the Bulls ended up going 72-10 in 1996 and winning their fourth championship. This marked the beginning of their second 3-peat.

It is important to take note that while this story is being told, the 1998 Chicago Bulls have reached the Eastern Conference Finals and will play the Indiana Pacers. The two stories are getting closer in time and will meet up by the end of the 10th episode as noted earlier.