For some millenials, there’s something unbelievable about the Michael Jordan era of Chicago Bulls basketball, even as history shows the team demonstrated night in and night out how it was one of the greatest to play the game.
On Sunday night, viewers had an opportunity to discover or learn more about why Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were special when ESPN and Netflix premiered the first two episodes of the documentary series dubbed “The Last Dance.”
The program focuses on the 1997-1998 Bulls team and its run to earn a sixth NBA championship title. It was a feat that many describe as sensational.
The Bulls, led by Jordan, seemingly went from scrapping to earn their stripes to straggling to win title after title. Jordan had saved what some called a dying franchise.
"“It was God disguised as Michael Jordan,” NBA legend Larry Bird said in the film."
For some, the memories of the Jordan era of Bulls basketball remain vivid. But for millenials and other young people, the 1997-1998 Bulls team might as well be part of ancient history.
Why, you ask?
Millenials, who at the time includes anyone born between 1981 and 1996, may not remember why Jordan and the Bulls were dominate. Aside of reading past articles, watching YouTube clips and reviewing classic games, it can be a struggle to contemplate what made the Jordan era of Bulls basketball work the way it had.
For one thing, the atmosphere surrounding the Bulls was described by many in the film as electric. It’s not a feeling that everyone can easily relate to considering the state of the franchise in recent years. Viewers may be able to see or read up on the way the Bulls had fans in a trance years ago, but they can never truly understand what the experience felt like. After all, there’s nothing like watching live basketball.
Another thing to note is the level of celebrity that Jordan attained and how mythical it may seem. The trouble with making sense of Jordan’s charm is taking into account how little he’s done interviews or made appearances since retiring. Millenials may not have been afforded the opportunity to get to know Jordan the way others may have. It’s clear the game and the fame that often comes with it have changed in some ways since the 80s and 90s. Social media makes the lives of NBA stars seem so much more accessible in today’s world.
It’s also important to point out how some people at times call into question if Jordan and the Bulls would hold their own against the athletes of today’s game, which is often viewed as less physical and more analytics-driven. It’s the quintessential debate of the ages, and it’s a safe bet to assume that viewers probably won’t be able to make a judgment based on watching “The Last Dance.”
The hope is that the documentary series will continue to allow viewers to make a more informed decision when considering what makes Jordan and the Bulls dynasty deemed great and why.
“The Last Dance” and its next two episodes is expected to air at 8 p.m. CST Sunday, April 26 on ESPN and ESPN+.