ESPN’s The Last Dance gave basketball fans an up-close look at Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls during their quest for their sixth NBA championship. The documentary was well-received and featured behind-the-scenes footage of the Bulls, interviews with players and opponents. Team executives and family members were also interviewed. One notable person was not involved in the series – Michael Jordan’s mother.
‘The Last Dance’ was a huge success
ESPN aired The Last Dance from April 19 to May 17. The documentary focused on the final year of Michael Jordan’s run with the Chicago Bulls. It offered never-before-seen videos of the Bulls’ quest for their sixth NBA championship. It offered interviews with players, coaches, team executives, and more during its 10-episode run.
According to CNN, The Last Dance was the most-watched ESPN documentary ever. The series averaged 5.6 million viewers throughout the run. “We are thrilled with the response from fans throughout the run of the series,” Connor Schell, ESPN’s executive vice president of content, said in a statement in May. “The past five Sunday nights have brought fans together, providing the type of communal viewing experience traditionally reserved for live sports.”
The Last Dance was just what the sports fan needed. The sports world was shut down in mid-march due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The NBA and NHL had to be shut down for roughly four months. Major League Baseball pushed back the start of its season well into the summer.
There were emotional moments regarding Jordan’s late father
The Last Dance touched on many different topics both on and off the basketball court. While the series focused on the quest for the Chicago Bulls’ sixth championship, there were many off-the-court topics addressed. Dennis Rodman’s trips to Las Vegas, Michael Jordan’s relationship with Detroit Pistons guard Isiah Thomas were just a few of the sidebars.
One other off-the-court topic discussed with the death of James Jordan, Michael’s father. James Jordan was killed in 1993 by two teens who were looking to rob somebody. James Jordan was sleeping in his car on the side of the road and was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Michael Jordan had a strong relationship with his father. James Jordan was seen in the stands and in the locker room throughout the series. They even went to a casino together the night before a playoff game. When Jordan and the Bulls won their first title after James Jordan’s death, he was extremely emotional. Jordan is seen lying on the floor in the locker room, cradling the trophy. “This is for daddy,” he said.
Why wasn’t Jordan’s mother interviewed?
While Michael Jordan’s father was mentioned quite often in The Last Dance, his mother Deloris wasn’t. According to Essence, Jordan’s daughter Jasmine said Deloris wasn’t concerned about being in the series.
“At the end of the day, if you’d ask my mom, she lived it,” Jasmine said during a Facebook Live chat back in May. “There’s no need to go down memory lane and bring up everything that has already happened when the proof is in the pudding. She was at the championship. She was at the retirement ceremony. We saw her in her glory…so no, I don’t think there’s a need to rehash and go through it all. She already lived it.”
While Michael Jordan was happy to go down memory lane with The Last Dance, his mother was content to just live off her own memories.