On April 19th at 9:00 PM ET, the first and second episodes of “The Last Dance” aired on ESPN and ESPN2.
The biggest question after the Bulls won their 5th championship in 1997 was whether or not to keep the team together.
When asked about the situation Michael Jordan starts by saying, “We are entitled to defend what we have until we lose it…”
Jerry Krause, the former GM of the Bulls, had a “little man problem.” Krause was upset he wasn’t getting much credit for the championships they had won.
Also, Jerry developed a tension with the former head coach of the Bulls, Phil Jackson, as Krause was supposedly “grooming” Tim Floyd as the next head coach of the team.
We were also lucky enough as fans to hear a letter that Michael sent home to his mother while attending school at North Carolina.
Part of the letter Jordan chuckled at stated, “I am sending you my account number, so that you can deposit some money in my account.”
Rod Thorn stated this referencing Houston’s decision to pick Olajuwon over Jordan with the first pick in the draft. “Olajuwon would’ve been first by anybody who picked, including… me.”
Episode 1 ended with parts of the ring ceremony from the 1996-97 season where the Bulls beat the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals.
Jordan says, “I said then that we’d be champions by the time I leave, and we are 5-time champions going for 6, and we need your support thank you very, very much.”
Episode 2 is arguably just as much about Scottie Pippen as it is about Michael Jordan, especially during the 1997-98 season.
Scottie had a terrible contract situation. Even with his major production, he signed a deal in 1991, a 7-year deal; 18 million dollars.
Because of this, Scottie was very frustrated.
The previous season, he suffered an injury that he could’ve had surgery for in the offseason, but decided to have it in the middle of the season.
This sidelined Pippen for what was going to be around 2-3 months, fixing what was a ruptured tendon in his ankle.
Scottie was trying to force management to change his contract by sitting out. Because of this, the Bulls struggled.
Jerry Krause was willing to trade Scottie Pippen, and because of this, and his awful contract, the relationship between Pippen and Krause was terrible.
Pippen demanded a trade and at the time would not play until he was gone.
Obviously Pippen was not traded, so the biggest question going into Episode 3 was how the Bulls management dealt with the situation.
Also, how was Chicago able to convince Pippen to keep playing for Chicago until the end of the season?
Photo Credit: Andy Hayt / NBAE