Drop Steps

The Last Dance Retrospective

By Lamar Battle

Some thoughts regarding ESPN’s mega hit The Last Dance:
The long awaited ten part series started with a bang (6.3 million viewers) and promised a look behind the curtain with the last of six NBA titles won by the Micheal Jordan led Chicago Bulls.

Micheal the Icon:

Taking into consideration Micheal’s super charged charisma on and off the court (where he carried himself like royalty) no person was ever the beneficiary of a tsunami sized convergence of events like Micheal Jordan.
Micheal Jordan was not only a world class athlete but he possessed a white hot work ethic and competitive fire. No one escaped Micheal’s Ire be they coaches, teammates, rivals or his own management team.
Micheal’s intensity brings to mind three people, Muhammad Ali (who I heard was truly rough on some of his handlers, James Brown (just watch the biopic ‘Get On Up’) and Oscar Robertson (who according to hoops scribe Sam Smith had had most of his teammates fearful of his wrath.)The one attribute these guys share with M.J. is Greatness.
Who knows, In some other life M.J. was probably a King but we know all successful monarchs need advisors and able generals.
M.J. had Scottie Pippin, coach Phil Jackson and believe or not Jerry Krause.

Scottie Pippen:

A top fifty NBA player Scottie was great and a perfect fit as Micheal Jordan’s Mr. Spock.
Scottie had greatness in him but as they say iron sharpens iron and Micheal’s constant pressure helped make Scottie the great player he became.  No NBA team ever had a better version of good cop/bad cop
Let’s re-live the 1st Bulls title run against the L.A. Lakers. Magic Johnson 6’9″ was backing Micheal down and getting to where ever he wanted on the floor.  Phil put Scottie on him and the rest as they say was history. The Bulls met Indiana in the Eastern Conference Finals, Scottie checked Mark Jackson (Mark could barely get a pass off) and the rest as they say was history.
There were times when Scottie would  with his verbal direction and movement lock down an entire offense and all this while running the Bulls offense.
Scottie was always there with a willing arm around the shoulder of a player who Micheal had just kicked in the ass.

Phil Jackson:

Phil will never probably get the credit he truly deserves for winning and winning big with two franchises.
Phil practiced a form of Zen Buddism which influenced Micheal Jordan and led him to mention (I’m para-phrasing) Phil taught me to be centered and focused to the point that I could perform to a greater degree under pressure, Micheal then gave Phil the ultimate compliment when he said “I will never play for another coach”.
Behind the scenes the Bulls were a bit of a shit show but Phil held it together.

Jerry Krause:

O.K. It’s pretty apparent this was a short cat with an out of balance Napoleon complex but how in Gods green earth did he:
Snatch Phil Jackson from where he Languished in the D league, Make the deal for Scottie Pippen, Draft Horace Grant and Charles Oakley but then Trade Oakley at just the right time for Bill Cartwright (who provided resistance against Knicks center Patrick Ewing), hiring Tex Winter and John Bach (both whom freed Phil to do what he does best which is manage).
Jerry brought in Dennis Rodman, B.J. Armstrong, Ron Harper, Stacey King, Toni Kukoc, Luc Longley and Steve Kerr.
Might be time to put some speck on that Mans name.
ESPN is currently the gold standard with sport Docs and like most of America I can’t wait for the Last Dance Part three.

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