5 best quotes from Episodes 1 and 2 of ‘The Last Dance’

Photo credit should read VINCENT LAFORET/AFP via Getty Images
Photo credit should read VINCENT LAFORET/AFP via Getty Images /

“The Last Dance” is finally here, and the first two episodes on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls didn’t disappoint. Here are the five best quotes from Episodes 1 and 2.

After months of buildup, The Last Dance is finally gracing our television screens. Over the next five weeks, the 10-part docuseries will take an unflinching look at the Michael Jordan‘s final championship run with the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls and all the turmoil that beset one of the greatest NBA dynasties of all time.

In such an unprecedented, intimate look at a team featuring so many prominent and unforgettable personalities, there are bound to be a ton of standout quotes, meme-able moments and excellent zingers hitting our timelines.

In the interest of acknowledging as many as we can, it’s time to take a look at the five most interesting quotes from Episodes 1 and 2 of The Last Dance.

“I don’t care if you win 82 games in a row, this is going to be your last year here.” — Phil Jackson, on what general manager Jerry Krause allegedly told him (Episode 1)

The Chicago Bulls were coming off two consecutive championships in seasons where they won 72 and 69 games, but that doesn’t mean all was well on the home front. Head coach Phil Jackson and GM Jerry Krause had a thorny relationship, and if Jackson winning five titles in seven years wasn’t enough to grant him job security in the Windy City, Krause wanted to make it abundantly clear that the 1997-98 campaign would be his last.

To be fair, this is Jackson’s quote of what Krause said to him, which means it could’ve been paraphrased or exaggerated for dramatic effect.

Yet somehow, this kind of thing being said behind closed doors tracks, given what we know happened to the Bulls even after securing their second three-peat that season. “The Last Dance” was Jackson’s theme for the 1997-98 campaign, and what Krause allegedly told him set the tone for the season (and this documentary) right off the bat.

“Michael Jordan’s the only player that could ever turn it on and off … and he never freakin’ turned it off.” — Roy Williams (Episode 1)

MJ’s college career in no way compares to what he would become in the NBA. He averaged just 17.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game in his three seasons with the Tar Heels, and the year he won an NCAA championship and hit that clutch, go-ahead bucket as a freshman, he only averaged just 13.5 points a night.

But even at North Carolina, people could tell he was going to be special. His head and assistant coaches, Dean Smith and Roy Williams, saw the same motor and insatiable drive that would make him such a killer at the next level.

Williams’ quote here serves as one of the early warning signs of a trend that would become one of MJ’s most identifiable traits in the NBA, but it takes on even more significance since even his college assistant coach could see it coming.

Or, as Los Angeles Lakers great James Worthy put it: “I was better than he was … for about two weeks.”

“You got your lines over here, you got your weed smokers over here, you got your women over here” — Michael Jordan on Bulls parties (Episode 1)

As a rookie on the Bulls, Jordan quickly proved himself on the court. Off the court, however, it was a bit of an adjustment for the first-year player, especially when it came to the rampant drug use and partying that was prevalent in the NBA at the time.

A headline referring to the Bulls as a “traveling cocaine circus” made the GOAT crack up in his interview, and when asked whether it was accurate, he gave a noncommittal, “Ahhhh…”

Jordan recounted his first look at the Bulls party life when he was knocking on doors at a hotel to find his teammates and heard a hush fall behind the door in the room where they all were. Once they realized it was MJ and let him in, Jordan described the scene above.

For a kid from North Carolina who just wanted to drink his orange juice and 7UP, MJ wanted no part of the drinking and drugs at that time. But it’s quite an eye-opener as to the league Jordan entered and how easily a legendary career could’ve been derailed had he not resisted those temptations.

“Whenever they speak Michael Jordan, they should speak Scottie Pippen.” — Michael Jordan (Episode 2)

Scottie Pippen is considered one of the most underrated NBA players of all time, and for good reason. Robin rarely gets as much shine as Batman, but whereas Batman could survive just fine on his own without his Boy Wonder sidekick, MJ’s career would’ve looked drastically different without Pippen.

As much as Jordan was the GOAT who rose to meet seemingly insurmountable expectations time and time again, it wasn’t until Pippen’s own rise to prominence that the Bulls were able to get past the “Bad Boys” Detroit Pistons and become NBA champions. His lockdown defense, facilitation, rebounding, versatility and overlooked scoring ability made a great Bulls team legendary.

Jordan goes on the record multiple times in these first two episodes to voice his displeasure with Pippen’s attempts to renegotiate his contract with the Bulls ahead of the 1997-98 campaign, and he was known for being a brutal teammate. But as much as his cutthroat, competitive nature rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, MJ also makes it crystal clear how vital “the best teammate of all time” was to his success.

“Depends on how f**king bad the headache is!” — Michael Jordan (Episode 2)

This is the ideal reaction to paint the picture of Michael Jordan. Love him or hate him, his desire to not only win, but destroy his competition is what made him such an unforgettable hero to his fans and a villain to those who waited for him to eventually fail.

We’ll let this story from MJ and owner Jerry Reinsdorf speak for itself:

Not only did we not realize how close MJ was to becoming a Bill Walton or a Sam Bowie, but the reason Jordan decided to risk his career and return in his second season? In this current era of load management, that’s something we would never see again.

“Every time I step on that basketball court my focus is to win the game,” he explains. “It drives me insane when I can’t.”

Next. Power ranking Michael Jordan's Bulls teams. dark