In a time when live sports are benched indefinitely, “The Last Dance” has been a lifeline for ESPN. The docuseries profiles Michael Jordan and chronicles the Chicago Bulls as they seek their sixth NBA championship in eight years.
Jordan’s last season with the Bulls was in 1997-1998. He and the team allowed a film crew to follow them on and off the court. Jordan still controlled when and how the footage aired.
Since Jordan had never before released that material or sat for this kind of project, “The Last Dance” was expected to be huge. With no live sports and an audience stuck at home, the opening episode grabbed more than 6 million viewers, and hung onto nearly that many throughout its 10-episode run. It’s now the most-watched documentary ever for ESPN.
“The Last Dance” reveals a man with a win-at-all-costs attitude that didn’t always make him the friendliest teammate.
For viewers who missed the series’ debut on ESPN, it will re-air on ABC on Saturday nights and land on Netflix in July.
Host Kim Masters admits she knows little about basketball, so she didn’t see herself as the right person to interview director Jason Hehir. She gave the job to her old friend Hayes Permar, one of the hosts of “SportsChannel8: The Radio Show,” on 99.9 The Fan in Raleigh, N.C.
Permar asks Hehir about the work-from-home hustle to get the series done two months ahead of its original air date, and why he thinks Jordan finally allowed the footage from his final season to be released. Some have speculated it’s to position himself above LeBron James as the greatest player of all time. But Hehir says, “I don’t think that that’s the reason why at all.”