Skip to main content

The Last Dance’s Michael Jordan Reveals What Surprised Him The Most About The Reaction To The ESPN Docuseries

Michael Jordan on The Last Dance
(Image credit: ESPN)

ESPN’s The Last Dance may have hit the airwaves over a year ago, but the docuseries still seems to be resonating with viewers. The acclaimed show examined the final championship run of the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls and, in the process, it pulled back the curtain on the ups and downs of the storied team. It also provided further insight into the man known to millions as His Airness. There have been plenty of reactions to the show over the past year and, now, Jordan has revealed the thing that surprised him the most about the public's response. 

The 10-part documentary series took its time in peeling back the layers of its subjects, including the calm and collected Scottie Pippen and the eccentric and unpredictable Dennis Rodman. When it came to Michael Jordan, the focus remained heavily on his intense competitive drive. Many are well aware of how vocal he could be in the locker room and during practice, and some have questioned his approach. However, most don’t seem to be looking at him in a negative light, which is something that Jordan finds shocking: 

I always thought that people would not understand my passion for the game, my passion for winning. … I think they saw my desire to win on a consistent basis. And every time I stepped on the floor, I represented my family, the Chicago Bulls, the NBA, because my desire was strong.

While discussing his conversation with the basketball hall of famer, Today’s Craig Melvin revealed to his co-hosts that Michael Jordan thought people would view him as a “jackass.” To be honest, this is completely understandable, as the docuserious does show the athlete’s intense nature on several occasions. On The Last Dance, Jordan also gave an explanation for his demeanor, which he considered to be necessary in order to push his team to success. Some will still surely have feelings on the way he handled things, but one might argue that the results speak for themselves.

From the moment he met with Air Jordan, director Jason Hehir made it clear that he wanted to make a multidimensional series. Hehir previously explained that he sought to tell a well-rounded story not just about the team captain but about his players and the Bulls organization as well. The documentarian also revealed some on the Jordan Brand side of things apparently had their concerns, though those soon went away. 

The Last Dance’s depiction of Michael Jordan and some of his teammates has been somewhat scrutinized, though, with many of the critiques coming from the players themselves. Scottie Pippen, who many believe was made out to look selfish, was among those who was not pleased, as he felt Jordan was trying to “uplift himself” through the show. Horace Grant also took issue with Jordan accusing him of leaking locker room secrets to the press. There were some who were a bit more positive, however, like Charles Oakley and former player and current NBA coach Steve Kerr

It’s likely that fans will continue to debate the merits of the Emmy-winning docuseries. But if anything seems to be clear, it’s that the man at the center of it appears to be mostly pleased with how things turned out. 

The Last Dance is available to stream on Netflix and ESPN+.

Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.