Not everyone is a fan of the portrayal of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the hit documentary series “The Last Dance”.
The 10-part hit ABC/ESPN/Netflix documentary series highlighting the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls team “The Last Dance” got mostly rave reviews as far as the fans go. But other media members and former players/teammates of the Bulls legendary shooting guard Michael Jordan don’t always agree with those rave reviews.
One of those former MJ teammates in his early days with the Bulls, sharpshooting guard Craig Hodges, is a critic of parts of The Last Dance and the picture it paints of that team in the 1980’s. Jordan didn’t have very many positive things to say about the Bulls in the early-to-mid 1980’s, when his was first beginning his NBA career.
On a recent episode of the Bulls Talk podcast with NBC Sports Chicago, Hodges opened up on his feelings about the portrayal of the teams he was on with Jordan in The Last Dance.
Here’s what Hodges had to say on the matter.
"Hodges took specific umbrage at Jordan “throwing [Scottie Pippen] under the bus” by calling him “selfish” for his handling of a contract dispute before the 1997-98 season when many Bulls teammates sacrificed elements of their games to clear the way for Jordan over the years. He also objected to the flippant framing of the “Traveling Cocaine Circus” story from Episode 1, and Jordan singling out Horace Grant for “The Jordan Rules” leaks.“To single Horace out for that, to look at the climate that was going on during the time,” Hodges said, “Who knows the conversations that was happening between Sam (Smith) and MJ that MJ thought was off-the-cuff, and he was writing them down? So, there’s a lot of things to me that are left unsaid that need to be explained, and so if you’re going to point someone out, point them out with facts as opposed to it being innuendo.“It’s ugly for what we did as a unit and what we accomplished as a team.”"
Some of the criticisms that people like Hodges and documentary producer Ken Burns had on the lack of diversity of viewpoints is fair. Jordan controls the narrative, but rightly so since this is mostly his story to tell.
The Bulls don’t win all those championships in the 1990’s without MJ, and a player like Hodges did help that team get there. But Hodges only won two titles with the Bulls, and his role was minimal by the time the early 1990’s arrived.
The Last Dance will premier the final two parts of the 10-part documentary series on ESPN and ABC on May 17 at 8 p.m. CT. The final two parts will go through the latter years of MJ with the Bulls, and the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals runs against the Indiana Pacers and Utah Jazz.