ESPN’s The Last Dance will offer an unvarnished look at Michael Jordan and he already knows he isn’t always going to come off well.
The Last Dance, ESPN’s 10-part docuseries on the Michael Jordan Bulls draws on thousands of hours of footage recorded over the course of the 1997-98 season, as well as hundreds of new interviews including some with Jordan himself. It’s going to be an unprecedented look at a legendary player whose image is as carefully controlled and crafted as any athlete we’ve ever seen.
The series premieres Sunday, Apr. 19, and will run for five weeks with two episodes airing each Sunday. We have gotten our first look yet but Jordan is already well aware of how at least some parts of it are going to be received. In an interview with The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch, the documentary’s director, Jason Hehir, said that Jordan knows he’s going to look like a “horrible guy” (h/t Complex):
”When you see the footage of [me riding with Scotty Burrell], you’re going to think that I’m a horrible guy,” Hehir remembers His Airness telling him before defending his aggressive approach. “But you have to realize that the reason why I was treating him like that is because I needed him to be tough in the playoffs and we’re facing the Indiana’s and Miami’s and New York’s in the Eastern Conference. He needed to be tough and I needed to know that I could count on him.”
If shouldn’t come as a surprise that Jordan’s famously aggressive competitiveness didn’t have him handing out a lot of warm fuzzies to teammates. The stories of him berating and belittling teammates have circulated for far too long to be entirely exaggerated. It sounds like the documentary will give us a chance to see some of his behavior and hear his explanations.
I wonder if we get to hear from Scotty Burrell too and whether he thought it was worth it?