The Whiteboard: 45 random things we hope are covered in ‘The Last Dance’

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images /

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As you could probably tell from our nonstop coverage over the last week, The Last Dance has been a big deal here at The Step Back (and everywhere else, for that matter). Being forced to staying at home by the coronavirus pandemic has given this 10-part docuseries heightened significance, but the truth is, this intimate look at Michael Jordan‘s last championship run with the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls would’ve been appointment viewing no matter what.

Would it have averaged 6.1 million viewers over the first two episodes? Probably not, but the first two episodes were stellar, and apparently, they’re the two least interesting hours of the series’ 10-episode run.

Given the way the first two chapters looked back into the past events that led up to that tumultuous 1997-98 campaign, we’re probably going to get an extended look at Jordan’s first five NBA championships, the emergency of Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson, Dennis Rodman‘s arrival, the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons, and so, so much more.

Full disclosure: This writer has already seen advanced screeners for Episodes 3 and 4 of The Last Dance, but since this list was almost complete prior to that, I can promise there are no spoilers below on the list of things I was hoping to see, and anything from here that is covered in the next two episodes isn’t denoted in any way and simply amounts to lucky guesswork.

Twenty-three items seemed too limited for a checklist like this, so in honor of His Airness’ other jersey number, here are 45 random things we want to hear MJ, Pippen, Jackson and the rest of the Bulls give the full documentary treatment to over the next eight episodes. We’ll go in chronological order:

  1. “The Shot” in Cleveland
  2. Jordan’s, um, nicest game, when he dropped a career-high 69 points
  3. ’80s Air Jordan highlights montage, please?
  4. How the Bulls went from Doug Collins to Phil Jackson so fast
  5. How brutal and physical the Bad Boys Pistons really were
  6. “Jordan Rules”
  7. Scottie Pippen making the leap
  8. Snatching the torch from Detroit
  9. The Bad Boys walking off the court early in their 1991 Eastern Conference Finals defeat
  10. MJ vs. Magic Johnson hype for the 1991 NBA Finals
  11. “The Move” in the 1991 NBA Finals (when Jordan switched from a dunk to layup in midair)
  12. Second-round scare against the New York Knicks in 1992
  13. How legitimate was the “MJ or Clyde Drexler” debate?
  14. “The Shrug” in the 1992 NBA Finals
  15. The Dream Team
  16. Jordan’s friendship with Charles Barkley
  17. Chicago’s rivalry with Patrick Ewing and the Knicks
  18. Game 4 of the 1993 NBA Finals (Jordan and Barkley’s duel)
  19. John Paxson‘s shot to seal Game 6 in the 1993 NBA Finals
  20. With Jordan’s baseball sabbatical … was gambling really involved, though?
  21. “I’m back.”
  22. Jordan explodes for 55 at Madison Square Garden
  23. The loss to the Penny and Shaq’s Orlando Magic in 1995
  24. Anything even remotely related to the production of Space Jam
  25. …Mr. Swackhammer from Space Jam is just a not-so-thinly veiled shot at Jerry Krause, right?
  26. The unprecedented 72-win season in 1995-96
  27. Dennis Rodman’s eccentricities
  28. Dennis Rodman’s love life (Madonna, Carmen Electra, etc.)
  29. Dennis Rodman’s descent
  30. Getting revenge on the Magic in the 1996 playoffs
  31. Facing Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp‘s SuperSonics in the Finals
  32. How mean were Jordan and Pippen to Toni Kukoc, really?
  33. Anything we can get of Ron Harper, Luc Longley and Steve Kerr
  34. As many more Jordan zingers with his teammates as possible! (The people deserve to see what kind of teammate he was at his best and at his worst.)
  35. How the Bulls breezed through a playoff gauntlet in 1997
  36. John Stockton and Karl Malone — how great were those Utah Jazz teams, really?
  37. Jordan’s game-winner in Game 1 of the 1997 NBA Finals
  38. The Flu Game
  39. Was Jordan sick, food poisoned or just hungover for that game? TELL US, MICHAEL.
  40. Steve Kerr’s shot to seal the 1997 NBA Finals
  41. What convinced Scottie Pippen to return and play out the 1997-98 season?
  42. Epic battles with the Indiana Pacers in the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals
  43. “The Steal” and “The Shot” Part 2
  44. The aftermath of how it all unraveled after that
  45. Putting Jordan’s greatness and impact into context for the young bloods

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