Directed by Jason Hehir, “The Last Dance” draws heavily on behind-the-scenes footage shot at the time, by an NBA Entertainment film crew allowed to chronicle the team throughout the season.
There are also tantalizing glimpses of such things as Jordan and Magic Johnson trash-talking during a “Dream Team” practice game, or inside the locker room at an NBA All-Star Game, as Jordan and others snipe about a young ball hog on the opposing team name Kobe Bryant. (Bryant and Jordan later became close, and the late Lakers star is among those featured.)
In some respects, “The Last Dance” exists to remind the world of Jordan’s greatness, and the level of stardom and adulation that surrounded him. That said, it’s hardly a whitewash, underscoring the nasty streak that accompanied his drive for greatness.
We see Jordan as a rookie — joining a franchise that, we’re told, was drawing fewer fans than indoor soccer — talk about lifting the Bulls to a level rivaling the Lakers and Celtics, then hear Magic and Larry Bird marvel about Jordan’s astonishing 63-point performance against the Celtics in the 1986 playoffs.Jordan also discusses how pre-title criticism that he was a great individual player but not a winner “ate at me.” Still, in regard to his scoring feats Jordan muses that while there’s no “I” in team, “There’s an ‘I’ in win.“