ESPN Films and Netflix are partnering for the documentary series The Last Dance, which chronicles the 1990s Chicago Bulls dynasty. One of the most dominating runs in professional sports, the team took home six NBA championships in an eight-year period. The Bulls' ascension to the top of the league coincided with star player Michael Jordan cementing his status as one of the greatest players of all-time. During this stretch, Jordan won four NBA MVP awards and was named Finals MVP all six years Chicago won the title. The Bulls were last champs in 1998, which just so happened to be Jordan's final year with the team.
Given the franchise's tremendous success during the '90s, the Jordan Bulls seemed like tailor-made subjects for an extensive documentary detailing their various exploits. With this year marking the 20th anniversary of their final championship season, it's only fitting they're about to get that retrospective treatment with a Dream Team working behind-the-scenes.
The announcement of The Last Dance came today in a joint statement from ESPN and Netflix. It will be presented in 10 parts and is directed by Jason Hehir. The filmmaker's previous credits include acclaimed sports documentaries The Fab Five, The '85 Bears, and Andre the Giant, so Hehir is certainly working in his niche here and should be able to deliver an insightful and comprehensive overview of what made the Bulls so great. The series will premiere in 2019.
A key development with The Last Dance is that it has the "full participation" of Jordan and various teammates of his over the years. Hehir is drawing from over 500 hours of never-before-seen footage taken from the aforementioned 1997-98 campaign. The title of the project implies Jordan's last season as a Bull will be the primary focus, but the description in the press release makes it sound like the complete dynasty will be covered. From the looks of things, The Last Dance won't be limited in its scope to just the Bulls, as the documentary will feature sound bites from several notable basketball personalities and examine the rise of the NBA during Jordan's prime. Along with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, Jordan helped push the NBA to a new level of popularity it continues to enjoy to this day.
As mentioned, 20 years have passed since Jordan bowed out (hitting the game-winning shot in the Finals to boot), so The Last Dance is in perfect position to reflect upon the Bulls and the larger impact they left on the NBA landscape. There's no denying this Chicago dynasty was a once-in-a-generation event and this'll likely be a must-see for sports fans when it finally comes out. It may not make the easiest watch for the many fans who had their hearts broken by Jordan time and time again, though anyone with a passing familiarity of the NBA will probably find something to enjoy.