Source: The Athletic
The first 6 episodes have given us a big glimpse into one of the most iconic periods in NBA history. Yet if you thought emotions were running high after the first 6 episodes then 7 and 8 took it up a notch. Here are my biggest takeaways from episode 7 and 8 of The Last Dance.
The summer of 1993 was a tragic one for the Jordan family as they lost the head of their James Jordan in a violent crime. Jordan lost a father, a best friend and a mentor. When Jordan won his first championship James was there with him with the Larry OB trophy. Michael’s world got smaller after his father passed, he challenged Micheal and always wanted what was best for his son, he was his biggest inspiration.
What made matters worse was chatter going around that Jordan actually caused his father's death by his gambling addiction. Crazy stuff, and it created a riff (to put it mildly) between him and the media. In a bittersweet moment in 95' Jordan closed out the Sonics on Fathers Day to win his 4th championship. The once robotic Jordan revealed his vulnerabilities right in front of our eyes.
Jordan loved baseball as a kid and thought about being a baseball player at one time and the death of his father and the lack of challenge within the basketball realm he switched to baseball in one of the most shocking sports moves of all-time.
Remaining under the Reinsdorf umbrella, Jordan signed with the White Sox and was Immediately shipped off to double A, not because he was at that level, but because the facilities of any lower class team couldn't handle the media demands. Incredibly Jordan started his baseball career on 13-game hit streak and finished his first season batting just over .200. Pretty incredible considering he hadn't picked up a bat in over a decade.
Terry Francona said that if Jordan had a chance to get 1500 ab's under his belt that he'd have a chance at playing in the majors, that is no small opinion. The 94' strike put an end to any hope of a Michael Jordan - MLB fairy tale ending as MJ went back to the hardcourt.
No Jordan, No Championship
When Jordan left Scottie became the man and lead the Bulls to a 57 win season in year one without MJ. The triangle looked as good as ever, Pippen was playing at an MVP level, the organization looked like they didn't need his airness. However, come playoff time the Bulls where put out by Knicks and in that series Scottie famously refused to go in. Essentially giving up his team because Jackson chose Kukoc for a finally shot over him.
The next year the Bulls struggled. Playing at .500 level basketball and just get over the hump. Pippen requested a trade late into the season but was denied, and famously MJ came back just in time for the playoffs. The Bulls would be outed by the Magic, but the fire was back in Chicago and the spark was back in MJ.
The Greatest Team Ever
Jordan was back, and the Bulls started to retool nabbing Rodman to filled the void Grant left when he went to the Magic. The Last Dance revealed Jordan held all-star level pickup games while shooting Space Jam and essentially getting a first hand scouting report on the leagues best players.
Retooled, refueled, and remotivated, the Bulls led the league with 72 wins setting a then league record. The Bulls cruised to their 4th Championship of the decade losing just 3 games all postseason. Many would say the 95-96 Bulls team is the greatest team of all-time. While the Warriors recorded 73 wins in the 2015-16 season, they lost to the Cavaliers in 7 games blowing a 3 -1 series lead in the NBA finals. As the saying goes "It don't mean a thing without the ring".