Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Netflix documentary The Last Dance about basketball star Michael Jordan

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Es knocks on an inconspicuous hotel room door in Peoria, Illinois. Once. Bocktock. Twice. Then Michael Jordan looks into a pool of excess. “There was our entire team. Coke. Marijuana. Women, ”reports Jordan 36 years later, and he smokes an obscenely long cigar himself:“ I had never seen a little guy like this before. ”In 1984, Michael Jordan was a“ rookie ”at the Chicago Bulls, a first-year professional very talented but still nameless youngster from the University of North Carolina who has to carry the shoes after the others.

At the sight, he decides: “I’m out.” No drugs, no alcohol – just basketball. Jordan says it in the outstanding ESPN documentary “The Last Dance”, the first two of ten episodes of which have been on Netflix since Monday, about the last season of the best basketball team ever: those aging bulls that appeared in the 1998 NBA want to crown a dynasty with a final hammer blow, spurred on by their legendary number 23. “People will say I was a bully,” Jordan fears.

Back then, ESPN got “All Access”, unlimited exclusive access. Almost 500 hours of material were shot. Twenty years later, Jordan gave the green light to spin the loose threads into a six-part story. In America “The Last Dance” is a campfire event, as it was “Wetten, dass ..?” In Germany: you have to see it. “We considered ourselves to be the best team ever,” said Scottie Pippen, from 1987 Robin to Batman, as talented as he was underpaid.

How the pieces of the puzzle fit together, how the franchise understands in shock at Jordan’s talent that the best player in the world also needs great people is part of the fascination. In 1997/98, however, the question of meaning had long been raised. Rebuilding or another year? “I promised you in 1984 that we would be champions before I left you,” said Jordan at the ring ceremony before matchday one: “Now we have five titles. And we want a sixth. “

The series has long lived not only from “MJ”, the largest. There is Jerry Krause, the small, headstrong general manager, who is constantly threatening to fall out of his pants. He invites everyone to his stepdaughter’s wedding, but not Coach Phil Jackson, with whom he – like Pippen – is hopelessly overwhelmed. Former Bulls center Bill Wennington appears to be interviewed in a trucker bar. He looks like he belongs there with a beard and red nose. There is rebound king Dennis Rodman, who appears as a bride or drag queen and powerfully boots a photographer into the soft tissues. Barack Obama, who admired the team. Bill Clinton.

Above all, however, stands Michael Jordan, whose work ethic and unique attitude to sport becomes clear. That draws strength from the struggle for his father’s attention. “I want to win at all costs. If necessary, go it alone, ”he says in the second episode:“ If I can’t do it, then I go crazy. ”A player develops who gets better the bigger the stage is.

A man who radiates every second: “Give me the thing – I’ll do it.” At some point Larry Bird appears, probably the best white basketball player in history. Bird laughs at the first play-off duel with Michael Jordan. The Boston Celtics are still winning, but a new era is coming. “Michael wasn’t playing there,” says Bird. “That was God himself.” Just in basketball shoes.

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