ESPN’s The Last Dance elicited various responses from the public at large. The docuseries, which focused on the final championship run of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, received acclaim from critics and general audiences. But the show was met with more mixed reviews from players. Many of Jordan’s former teammates have commented on the accuracy of the series and, now, another notable name has added his voice to the list.
Charles Oakley was a teammate of Michael Jordan’s from 1985 to 1988 and, during their time with the Bulls, the two forged a solid relationship. And when Oakley was traded to the New York Knicks, he and Jordan faced off in some amazing games:
Given the relationship between Michael Jordan and Charles Oakley, it was only a matter of time before he was asked for his thoughts on The Last Dance. And the fan-favorite player didn’t mind providing his honest opinion:
It was 70-30, 80-20…. It was a little accurate and a little pledging, but I think the athletes who really got a lot of shine and overplay, a lot of guys tried to play the tough role were really tough. My thing with playing with Michael Jordan is it's just like a dream come true. A lot of guys act like he threw them under the bus, he didn’t throw them under the bus.
Judging by Charles Oakley’s recent comments on the 3 League OGs Podcast, he’s mostly fine with how things were presented in The Last Dance. He did still mention that the film felt a bit “pledging,” presumably when it came to portraying Michael Jordan. The show has been noted for showing the “bad side” of Jordan, but the iconic athlete is still portrayed in a mostly positive light. Although some took issue with this, Oakley doesn’t appear to have much of a problem with Jordan talking up his accomplishments:
I think it was legit to a point… [Michael Jordan] had the right to talk. You can’t talk unless you win, and when you win, you can let people know.
Charles Oakley’s mellow sentiments seem to match up closely with those of Steve Kerr. The NBA championship-winning player and coach (who was interviewed for the doc) was mostly fine with how the story was presented. He did, however, take issue with the way former teammate Scottie Pippen was portrayed.
Speaking of Scottie Pippen, despite initially claiming he had no issue with the docuseries, he later admitted he wasn’t too pleased with it, He believes that through the series, Jordan was able to “uplift” himself, and Pippen says he even discussed critiques with his former teammate. Former Chicago Bull Horace Grant (another one of the show’s interviewees) was upset with Jordan’s claim that he leaked locker room secrets to the press.
When considering the subject matter of The Last Dance, it’s not too surprising that it would be somewhat polarizing among former athletes. It’s unfortunate that not everyone was pleased with the way they were portrayed. But at the very least, their subsequent comments are sure to spark some serious discussions about the Bulls and that era of NBA basketball as a whole.
The Last Dance is currently available to stream on Netflix.