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‘The Last Dance’ Premieres Tonight; What It Took To Make This Happen

We have one of the most historic documentaries debuting tonight, that’s got everything: unreleased film, interviews from everybody and even a wild backstory.

For those who aren’t in the loop, tonight at 9pm on ESPN, two parts of a ten-part documentary centered around Michael Jordan and the Bulls last championship run will air. This documentary isn’t your grandma’s little 30 For 30 either. This documentary has been made using five hundred fucking hours of unseen footage. That’s the entire Breaking Bad series eight times. And if you’re thinking, “Well it’s probably just a bunch of rehearsed answers to interview questions and some practice shots” you’d be wrong, buster.

Apparently within these five hundred hours of unseen footage include: Scottie Pippin bitching about Bulls GM Jerry Krause, Jordan berating his teammates that they are not him, what’s going on in a Phil Jackson huddle. It’s even got interviews with: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Phil Jackson, Adam Silver, Charles Barkley, Dikembe Mutombo, Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing, Isiah Thomas, Roy Williams, Justin Timberlake, Kobe Bryant (RIP), fucking Obama?! This documentary is going to be an absolute gong-show for the next five weeks. But behind this documentary, there’s a story on how after 22 years, we are only seeing it now.

Back in ’98, some guys with NBA Entertainment heard some rustlings about this maybe being Phil Jackson’s last year and Jordan didn’t want to play for anyone other than Jackson. So Adam Silver, a man who literally and figuratively has a very bright mind, had a meeting with Klay Thompson’s uncle, then producer Andy Thompson. It was there an idea was pitched: Film. Everything. Silver brought the idea to the Bulls owner, who agreed to it as long as Mike and Phil did as well.

When Silver brought it to Jordan, he explained to him that they could negotiate later on and get the small things squared away, but they would want to start filming immediately. They offered MJ full control, nothing can be used unless he gives the thumbs up. Silver even said, “Worst comes to worst, you’ll have the greatest set of home movies for your kids, ever created.” Silver may be the human embodiment of a mint-condition penis, but he was right.

Once the Jordan’s second successful three-peat had concluded, the film sat in some New Jersey warehouse for a while. Certain names like Spike Lee and Danny DeVito would come up as the possible director, but MJ never gave the thumbs up. Until the day of Cleveland’s championship parade. I like to think Mike was watching it on TV, quietly muttering shit like, “You think you’re hot shit?” and “Can’t be the GOAT when you’re 3 and 3”.

Mike Tollin, a guy who has produced home-runs like Iverson and Coach Carter, held a meeting with Jordan, and as it turns out, Jordan loved that Iverson movie. Details got worked out, that film that was wasting away in New Jersey was finally getting clipped and LeBron’s been biting his nails. It all finally comes to fruition tonight with the first two parts, starting at 9 pm on ESPN. If you want to get hyped, I included the 3 minute trailer below. I can’t fucking wait.

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