Why there’s anger toward Jordan and ‘Last Dance’ documentary, and is it justified?


Posted at May 21 2020 11:20 AM

Why there’s anger toward Jordan and ‘Last Dance’ documentary, and is it justified? 1
Scottie Pippen reportedly is unhappy with the way he was depicted in “The Last Dance.” Courtesy of Netflix

If whoever in Michael Jordan’s camp thought producing a 10-part series would reintroduce His Airness’ greatness to a new generation of basketball fans, that could be backfiring now.

There’s divided opinion over Jordan, to say the least, and even some of those who actually worked with the 6-time NBA MVP are flat out resentful of him now. 

Here are some of those people who have given the docuseries, shown in full on Netflix, a thumbs down: 

Horace Grant, former Chicago Bulls teammate

A key piece in the Bulls’ first 3-peat, the 6-foot-10 power forward said Jordan “90% of (the documentary) was BS,” stopping short of saying it was simply Jordan propaganda.

He also hit out on Jordan’s allegations that Grant leaked locker room dynamics to a journalist and Jordan’s way of treating some of his teammates.

Scottie Pippen, former Bulls teammate

Media reports said the 6-time NBA champion was “wounded and disappointed” over the way he was portrayed by director Jason Hehir in the documentary.

Those close to Pippen say the hurt stems from the series paying too much attention to his trade demands and the way he froze out his teammates in a critical play in the 1995 playoffs against the Knicks.

Why there’s anger toward Jordan and ‘Last Dance’ documentary, and is it justified? 2
In the documentary, Jordan says he would have wanted to keep the 1998 Bulls team together for another title run in 1999, a claim team owner Jerry Reinsdorf disputes. Courtesy of Netflix

Jerry Reinsdorf, Bulls team owner

The man who famously said he’d rather trade all 6 Bulls titles just to win one World Series championship for his Chicago White Sox, a club he also owns, said he “was not pleased” when Jordan said at the end of “The Last Dance” that he thought Reinsdorf’s decision to blow up the team wasn’t justified.

“He knew better. Michael and I had some private conversations at that time that I won’t go into detail on ever,” Reinsdorf told NBC Sports Chicago. 

“But there’s no question in my mind that Michael’s feeling at the time was we could not put together a championship team the next year.”

Critics of tough-love leadership

Jordan got away with his intimidating style of management because his teams won 6 championships, but the way he bullied some of his teammates and how he took pride in demeaning them hasn’t sat well with everyone.

Fans of Toni Kukoc, former Bulls player

Arguably the third best player during the Bulls’ second 3-peat, his underratedness was never more fleshed out than in the documentary.

While Kukoc himself doesn’t seem to mind taking a backseat, his followers think the Croatian Sensation didn’t get a fair shake.

One Reddit user pointed how the documentary did Kukoc “dirty” by highlighting Steve Kerr’s performance in Game 7 of the 1998 NBA Eastern Conference finals and ignoring Kukoc’s efficient 21-point game, including 14 points in a third quarter that kept Chicago in it.

In Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Kukoc was spectacular, scoring a team-high 30 points on 11 of 13 shooting. With a chance to win the game, the last play with 3-tenths of a second left was designed for Kukoc, but Jordan snatched the ball off the inbounds play and the series went to Game 6. 

Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer and Bad Boys fans

This is a no-brainer, given the no-handshake incident in the 1991 NBA Eastern Conference finals and Thomas’ exclusion from the 1992 Dream Team.

Anybody on the side of Jerry Krause, former Bulls general manager 

Jordan said in the documentary that he’s a glass half-full kind of guy. Well, except in the way he views Krause. 

The dude who built Jordan two 3-peat caliber squads has been remembered less for his genius and more for his role as the disintegrator of that dynasty, which will happen when the one controlling the narrative is one of the most powerful figures in all of sports.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).