Sadly, The Last Dance has come to an end and my face looks like a famous Michael Jordan meme as I sit here writing this. Okay, not really, but even 10 episodes about MJ and the Chicago Bulls didn’t seem like enough, did it? So many great moments, images, sequences, and stories came out of this docuseries that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the best ones were. But I’m going to go ahead and take a stab at it anyway. I’m sure not everyone reading this will agree with my choices but here’s my take on the best moment of every episode of The Last Dance.
Episode I: A letter to Mom
I think the funniest moment to come out of the first episode was the “Former Chicago Resident” title for President Barack Obama. Hilarious. But as the tone was being set for all of the drama surrounding the Chicago Bulls, I most enjoyed the discussion of Michael Jordan’s time at North Carolina, particularly the letter he wrote to his mother, Deloris, asking for money.
“How has life been treating you? Fine, I hope. I am doing just fine. I am sending you my account number so that you can deposit some money in my account. I have only $20 in there. Tell everyone I said hello and smile. God and I love you.
“P.S. Sorry about the phone bill. Please also send me some stamps.”Deloris Jordan reading a letter from Michael Jordan in Episode I of The Last Dance
So endearing. Just thinking about Michael Jordan asking anyone for twenty bucks is gold.
Episode II: Scottie Pippen choosing to wait until just before ‘The Last Dance’ season began to get surgery
The second episode of The Last Dance really dives into the Scottie Pippen story. Watching his development from a small guard to a versatile 6’8″ forward was fascinating. Overall, I think Pip got a bit of a raw deal as the series went along, so I actually quite enjoyed his take on waiting until just before the 1997-1998 season began to get the foot surgery that would keep him out of the first 35 games. Selfish? Maybe. But funny, especially knowing how things turned out? Absolutely.
“I’m not going to f**k my summer up.”Scottie Pippen in Episode II of The Last Dance
Michael Jordan certainly didn’t think it was funny but it was Pippen’s way of showing his disapproval on how his contract was handled for years.
Episode III: Ron Harper on Michael Jordan’s famous shot against his Cavs in 1989
This was a tough call as there were so many great moments in Episode III of The Last Dance. This was the Dennis Rodman episode (Carmen Electra didn’t appear until Episode IV so hold your horses) and there were some great stories there. However, Ron Harper stole the show from both Rodman and Michael Jordan here when discussing MJ’s famous shot against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1989. Craig Ehlo was guarding Jordan and Harper thought it should have been him.
“Yeah OK, whatever. F*** this bulls***.”Ron Harper in Episode III of The Last Dance
As it turns out, Ehlo and Mark Price don’t remember things going down like that but it made for a fantastic moment.
Episode IV: Jordan blasts Isiah Thomas
This was a tough call as you’ve got Carmen Electra talking about the Dennis Rodman Vegas vacation but the best moment from the fourth installment of The Last Dance is quite clear. It’s Michael Jordan talking about Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons’ walk-off in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals. You know what’s coming.
“You can show me anything you want. There’s no way you can convince me he wasn’t an a**hole.”Michael Jordan on Isiah Thomas in Episode IV of The Last Dance
Yeah, I don’t think that relationship is ever going to get any better.
Episode V: Kobe
Episode V of The Last Dance began with a tribute to Kobe Bryant and dove right into the 1998 NBA All-Star Game where Michael Jordan said that the “Laker boy” was going to try and get his, which is exactly what happened. But watching Kobe, who did his interview not long before his tragic passing in January, discuss how Jordan became a mentor to him was chilling in the most beautiful way.
“If you ever need anything, give me a call. He’s like my big brother.
“I don’t get five championships here without him.”Kobe Bryant on Michael Jordan in Episode V of The Last Dance
This episode also featured some great moments from the Dream Team, including why Jordan and Pippen picked on Toni Kukoc, who just looked like an absolute boss in his interviews.
Episode VI: Michael Jordan wouldn’t want to be a role model if he could do it all over again
The sixth installment of The Last Dance provided a number of great moments. Michael Jordan telling his teammates to pack just one suit when heading back to Phoenix for Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals was vintage MJ. It got into “The Jordan Rules” and Michael accusing Horace Grant for leaking information. But the episode’s main focus was the price that Jordan paid for being a celebrity and watching him discuss how he might do things differently if he had to do it over again was mesmerizing.
“If I had a chance to do it all over again, I would never want to be considered a role model. It was like a game that was stacked against me and there was no chance that I could win.”Michael Jordan in Episode VI of The Last Dance
Episode VII: ‘Break’
Episode VII was one of the most powerful installments of The Last Dance as it discussed the murder of Michael Jordan’s father, which led to his first retirement from the Bulls and his attempt at baseball. But the best moment, maybe in the entire series, was right at the end of this episode when Jordan discussed why he pushed his teammates so hard.
“Look, I don’t have to do this. I’m only doing it because it is who I am. That’s how I played the game. That was my mentality. If you don’t wanna play that way, don’t play that way.
“Break.”Michael Jordan in Episode VII of The Last Dance
Episode VIII: Jordan laughs off Gary Payton before winning his fourth title on Father’s Day
Episode VIII featured two of the best moments of The Last Dance rolled into one great story. In 1996, the Bulls played Gary Payton and the Seattle Supersonics in the NBA Finals, and Payton was interviewed and said that he created problems for Michael Jordan, which Jordan hilariously laughed off before saying he had other things on his mind, namely clinching his fourth title on Father’s Day. That led to the famous shot of him lying on the ground in the locker room. We’ve seen the picture numerous times but had never before heard the audio of him sobbing, which made it even more emotional. Fantastic.
Episode IX: The Steve Kerr story
The Steve Kerr story in Episode IX was captivating. From how he earned Michael Jordan’s trust to the heartbreaking story of his father being killed in Beirut, every moment he was on the screen in this installment was great television. And you really see how many big shots he made over the years, which led to a hilarious quote at the 1997 title celebration.
“So I thought to myself, well, I guess I gotta bail Michael out again.”Steve Kerr
The brief interaction between Michael Jordan and Larry Bird following the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals was gold as well.
Episode X: Michael Jordan is apparently a poet
And we come to the end. The final episode of The Last Dance tied up all the loose ends of the 1997-1998 season but also let us in on the fact that Michael Jordan was ready to go for title number seven, which is interesting. But it truly was the perfect end to a great dynasty and my favorite moment came when it was revealed that Phil Jackson hosted a ceremony in which every player brought a handwritten note on what “The Last Dance” season had meant to them, only to throw it in a fire after reading it. And Michael Jordan apparently is quite the poet, just one of many things this amazing documentary showed us.
So now what are we supposed to do?
*All quotes courtesy of ESPN.