Review of the Netflix docuseries The Last Dance
You don’t have to be a basketball fan to enjoy this highly entertaining ten-episode docuseries. The plotline, established in the first episode, centers around whether or not the Chicago Bulls can win a third three-peat before the Chicago Bulls management disbands the winning team. Thus the title “The Last Dance.”
At the center of this dynasty is Michael Jordan. There is little doubt that the Chicago Bulls could not have won as many championships as they did without Michael Jordan. But it’s also true that Michael couldn’t have done what he did without a talented cast of supporting characters, including Scottie Pippen, Denis Rodman, Steve Kerr, John Paxon, and a host of other players that came and went.
The ten episodes cover eight years, starting with the signing of Michael Jordan. Between the conference and championship series, there is a dizzying amount of time-shifting flashbacks and individual player profiles. When this series first became available on ESPN, I passed because I couldn’t make sense of the structure. The filmmakers do a commendable job by using a timeline graphic. Once you accept the time-shifting structure, you can sit back and enjoy the anecdotes, profiles, and basketball highlights.
Every episode contained anecdotes from players, coaches, and management. One of my favorites involved an interaction between Michael Jordan and teammate Steve Kerr. There were just a few seconds left in a championship game. Everyone knew that Michael was going to get the ball. While sitting on the bench, Michael whispered to Steve Kerr and asked him if he was ready, the implication being that Michael was going to pass the ball to him. Steve Kerr’s reaction to this unexpected revelation was memorable.
Despite the confusing structure, the filmmakers deserve credit for putting together one of the best sports documentaries ever produced.