Highlights from ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’: Episodes 5 & 6

In week three of ‘The Last Dance’ documentary, ESPN dove deeper into the Chicago Bulls dynasty. Among the things highlighted was a difficult fifth episode that featured a young Kobe Bryant breaking into stardom in his second NBA season. In episode six, they documented the turmoil within the Bulls team en route to their third-straight title.

Here are a few things that stuck out in week three.

Deloris Jordan deserves a big check from Nike.

Yes, MJ’s mother was the driving force behind Jordan signing with Nike because initially, MJ didn’t relish the idea of signing with them. He didn’t even want to meet with the shoe brand. His sights were set on Adidas, but after his mother pushed him to give Nike a chance just like the others (shoe brands), Nike shocked MJ with a jaw-dropping presentation and offer. He had no choice. Nike has Mrs. Jordan to thank.

They compared Michael Jordan to Clyde Drexler.

And Jordan wasn’t happy with that whatsoever. After hearing that, Michael went on to record a 41-point, 11-assist game where he netted 6 threes in the first half. He then led the Bulls to a 4-2 series win for Chicago’s second-straight NBA Title.

Kobe Bryant quite obviously looked up to Michael Jordan.

Kobe said that “I wouldn’t have won five titles without him,” and that’s probably true. Both Jordan and Bryant had mutual respect for one another. They were both the ultimate competitors, and unapologetic about everything they did. Kobe absolutely idolized Jordan, and he was fine with it. Kobe saw Jordan like a big brother, and Jordan saw Kobe was a little brother. That’s why they’re so closely linked to each other to this day.

There was turmoil with the Bulls and MJ.

The whole scandal with reporter Sam Smith and the Jordan Rules, plus the controversy with Jordan’s gambling habits, more specifically during the 1993 Finals against the New York Knicks. The well-documented night out in Atlantic City caused a ton of discourse between Jordan and the media.

Jordan and the Bulls won four-straight after the gambling scandal.

The Bulls were down 2-0 in the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals, and that’s when Jordan took a trip with his father and friends to Atlantic City, which was subject to a ton of scrutiny. How did Jordan and the Bulls respond? They won four consecutive games, and Jordan averaged 41.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 6.3 assists.

Jordan went back to Phoenix with one suit.

After losing a heartbreaking Game 5, the Bulls faced the daunting, and annoying task of catching a flight back to Phoenix. Knowing the were the better team, and with a chance to close out the Suns in Chicago during Game 5, it simply sucked to have to go back out west. Jordan made a bold move by only packing one suit for the potential two-game trip. Why couldn’t he just pack another suit? That’s beyond me, but it all worked out.

Addam M. Francisco

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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