“The Last Dance” is a 10-part documentary based on Michael Jordan’s career as a Chicago Bull, and more specifically, centers around never before seen footage of the 1997-98 season.
As a sports fan with lots of free time during the day, this series is quite literally one of the only things I have going for me right now. Like at all. So, from this point on, every week I will touch on the four most interesting takeaways from the week’s two episodes.
1: Scottie Pippen was 100%, undeniably robbed
For a little bit of context, I was born in 2002. I am used to guys like Chandler Parsons making stupid amounts of money. Four years for $94 million doesn’t even make me flinch. However, I am still very aware of how much of a walking bucket Scottie Pippen was. We are talking about a seven-time All-Star and potentially the best second man in all of sports history. This man was paid $18 million over eight years, the entire length of his prime and the Bulls dynasty.
You may be saying to yourself, “$18 million is a lot of money. What’s the issue?” The issue is that during this same time period, Juwan Howard was making $105 million for a contract one year shorter. Juwan Howard was making more than 5.5 times as much money as NBA legend, six-time NBA champion, Scottie Pippen. And to add a little more salt to the wound, Jordan was making 15 times more than him per year. Seems Fair.
2: Michael Jordan is kind of psychopath
Before I get into it, let me clarify. This is not necessarily a bad thing. But to be that good at your job, possibly even the best anyone in the world has ever been at their job, you kind of have to be insane. His crazy competitive nature wasn’t only in games. He wanted to dominate everything. Practices. Golf. Bets. You name it. As a matter of fact, when Pippen sustained the injury that forced him to miss 40 games in 1997, Jordan was excited. He wanted to prove he didn’t need anyone to win. He exploded on teammates in practices and nearly drove himself and his teammates insane with his expectations. The craziest part is that it’s hard to even blame him.
3: Jerry Krause either knew something we don’t, or he’s a super villain
The former Bulls GM is a great roster builder, and for that I will give him credit. However, firing the greatest coach of all time in the midst of the greatest dynasty of all time is questionable to say the least. He was hell-bent on breaking up that team and rebuilding, and nobody knows why. Obviously, they were still capable of winning championships, and they won another one that year. The only explanation is that Krause wanted the credit for himself. It is literally the only explanation for disbanding the greatest team of all time.
4: Michael Jordan is the Bulls
A lot of drama was centered around the following quote by Jerry Krause: “Players don’t win championships, organizations do.” Many took this as a shot at Michael Jordan, including Jordan himself. I mean how don’t you? Krause is obviously trying to take credit away from the team and bring it back to himself, why else would he even say that at all? Regardless, it made me think a little bit more. Before Michael Jordan, the Bulls were a middling lottery team being outsold by an arena soccer squad. Jordan brought a spark to the team, and with that, a 14-year streak of insane levels of dominance to Chicago.
The years after have been marked with absolute failure (hypocritical coming from a Timberwolves fan, I know). The Bulls haven’t been to one finals without Michael Jeffery Jordan on the roster. They are in the midst of yet another rebuild right now, and in the six years following Jordan’s departure, they didn’t make the playoffs once. As a matter of fact, Derrick Rose, the best player they have had since Jordan, was hurt repeatedly because of the organization’s refusal to protect their players. If you can’t tell already, I’m gonna go ahead and side with the G.O.A.T on this one. Players win games, not the front office.