“The Last Dance” docuseries continues to be a success for ESPN.
Last night, episodes 5 and 6 aired covering subjects such as The Dream Team, Nike, Kobe Bryant, and more.
During Sunday’s airing of Michael Jordan’s documentary, viewers got a more in-depth look into MJ’s relationship with Bryant on and off the court.
Despite Jordan’s position on the #ChicagoBulls and the late Bryant’s role on the #LosAngelesLakers, the two still had a very close friendship.
During the 1998 season, Bryant had everyone’s attention.
“That little Laker boy’s gonna take everybody one on one,” Jordan said. “He don’t let the game come to him. He just go out there and take it. He just go out there and take it. ‘I’m gonna make this shit happen. I’m going to make this a one-on-one game.’…If I was his teammate, I wouldn’t pass him the fu*king ball. You want this ball again, brother, you better rebound.”
Jordan and Bryant remained good friends until Bryant’s untimely passing in January of 2020.
“If you just watched them interact in a game, Kobe always was like a magnet going toward Michael,” said Jerry West, former General Manager for the Lakers, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “Usually Michael didn’t really interact with a lot of players when he was on the court. He’d just play. But for some reason, he had this affinity for him.”
The documentary also discussed Jordan’s sneaker partnership with Nike.
Jordan revealed that before Nike, he wanted to sign a deal with Adidas; however, the company wasn’t interested.
“[I] couldn’t even get [Jordan] to get on the damn plane,” David Falk, Jordan’s former manager, said regarding meeting with Nike. Falk had to call Jordan’s mom to convince him.
“My mother said, ‘you’re going to go listen. You may not like it, but you’re going to go listen,'” Jordan remembered. “She made me get on that plane and go listen.”
Jordan ended up getting an offer from Nike for $250,000.
“Nike’s expectation when we signed the deal was that at the end of Year 4, they hoped to sell $3 million worth of Air Jordans,” Falk recalled. “In Year 1, we sold $126 million.”
Elsewhere the docuseries also touched on Jordan being one of the most famous people on the planet & a “cultural icon” by 1998.
“This is not one of those lifestyles you envy,” Jordan said. “I’m ready for getting out of this life. You know when you get to that point? I’m there. With no reservations at all. I’m there.”
Jordan and Scottie Pippen also helped the Bulls achieve their first-ever championship 3-peat from 1991-1993.
The doc also addressed rumors that Jordan was responsible for keeping Isiah Thomas, former Detroit Pistons player, off of the “Dream Team” in the 1992 Olympics, which featured Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Pippen and others.
However, in the documentary, Jordan revealed he had nothing to do with that.
“You want to attribute it to me, go ahead, and be my guest. But it wasn’t me,” Jordan said.
Jordan was blamed due to his feud with Thomas following the rivalry between the Pistons and the Bulls in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
“I respect Isiah Thomas’ talent. To me, the best point guard of all-time is Magic Johnson, and right behind him is Isiah Thomas. No matter how much I hate him, I respect his game. Now, it was insinuated that I was asking about him; but I never threw his name in there,” Jordan continued.
“I tried to do everything correctly, and I thought I should’ve made the Dream Team,” Thomas remembered. “However, I wasn’t a part of it, that hurt me. And looking back, if I’m not a part of the Dream Team because of a lapse of emotion in terms of not shaking someone’s hand, if that’s the reason why I didn’t make the Dream Team, then I am more disappointed today than I was back then when I wasn’t selected.”
Though he claimed he wasn’t invited, Jordan insisted had Thomas been apart of the team, things would have been different.
“The Dream Team, based on the environment and the camaraderie that happened on that team, it was the best harmony,” Jordan added. “Would Isiah have made a different feeling on that team? Yes.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Parts 7 and 8 of ‘The Last Dance’ airs this Sunday.