Sunday Special: Six takeaways from ‘The Last Dance’

ESPN’s masterpiece of a docu-series, The Last Dance, concluded last night, leaving us asking, “how about 10 more?” Despite criticism over giving Michael Jordan the final cut, director Jason Hehir created a piece of art that the quarantine world had been desperate for. Episodes 9 and 10 were emotion-filled and in my opinion, the best of the series. So to give the show a proper send-off, here are six takes — one per ring — from the final two parts.

1. The MJ-LeBron argument is a waste of time

Seriously, do everyone a favor and drop the discussion. Over the past month I’ve decided that unless you lived to see both eras, you shouldn’t partake in it anyway. It’s nothing more than a ratings-play by Cowherd, Skip, and First Take. Michael changed the game. LeBron is an all-around force of nature. Appreciate the greatness they’ve brought into our lives, and quit wasting everybody’s time trying to change people’s opinions. Next.

2. Reggie Miller is a genius 

Reggie’s push-off on MJ in Game 4 of the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals was a Rushmore-level play. How this hasn’t been executed more often is puzzling. No referee wants to be the guy (or gal) that ruined the game because of a whistle. You tellin’ me they couldn’t have called one on the famous Charles Smith play? Reggie was brilliant for this, and after watching the documentary, he’s a player I would’ve loved to grow up watching.

3. Jerry Krause deserves our respect

Jerry Krause should be etched into NBA folklore — the league’s own Napoleon Bonaparte. Without Jerry, there is no 10-part show called The Last Dance. Let’s highlight some of the critical moves he made in assembling the Bulls’ dynasty: trading for Scottie Pippen, Bill Cartwright, and Dennis Rodman, drafting Horace Grant and Toni Kukoc, and firing Doug Collins (despite reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in ’89) in favor of Phil Jackson. It took some serious chutzpah to have made all those decisions and endure the belittling of the stars on your roster. The criticism for his shortcomings are equally deserved, but let’s not slander a guy in his grave.

4. The purple Jazz uniforms are the GOAT uniforms

The Utah Jazz screwed up by moving away from these sensational ’90s jerseys. Even the warmup jackets were fire! Instead of changing to their current orange and navy look, they should’ve ditched the New Orleans heritage and changed their name.

malone_stockton

5. RIP Malcom Kerr and Gus Lett

The Malcolm Kerr and Gus Lett stories revealed in last night’s episodes were heart-wrenching. Speaking on behalf of the younger generation, most of us had no idea that Steve Kerr’s father, Malcolm H. Kerr, was assassinated while serving as the president of the American University of Beirut in 1984. Knowing Steve’s story provides a layer of context to why he’s so outspoken with his political views. I respect him immensely.

In addition to Steve’s story, we learned about Michael Jordan’s fatherlike-figure, Gus Lett — a longtime Chicago policeman and security guard for the Bulls. For anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer, this was a reminder of how brutal and unfair the disease is. MJ checked-in, encouraged, and even paid for Gus’s medical expenses during his lengthy battle with lung cancer. When they showed Mike giving him the game ball after Chicago’s Game 7 win over the Pacers, the tissues came into play.

6.  We need basketball more than ever

The rabid and deafening scenes from the Utah and Indiana matchups intensified my need for an NBA comeback more than any moment of this quarantine. The league has already lost $300 million in revenue due to the preseason China debacle, and players’ paychecks took a cut last Friday due to the stoppage. Us fans are longing for LeBron-Kawhi and Philly-Boston playoff matchups and now have one less piece of entertainment to tune into. If Adam Silver was smart enough to push for documentation of the Bulls’ final season, he can certainly engineer a return to play.


A mind-blowing MLB story:

Why this retired slugger might be the MLB’s highest-paid player in 2020 by Mark Townsend (Yahoo Sports)

Prince Fielder hasn’t played a game of baseball since July 18, 2016, yet under the MLB’s shortened-season pay structure, he could be the highest-paid player in the league at $24 million. These insanely long, high-dollar MLB deals rarely seem to work out for organizations. If 13-year, $330 million contracts (referring to Bryce Harper) are what it takes to be competitive and/or sell tickets in the MLB, the sport is broken.

Best Thing I Saw This Week: Tulsa’s Tesla pitch

While Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been battling California’s stay-at-home restrictions, he’s also been scouting locations for the company’s fifth Gigafactory — dedicated to production of the Cybertruck. Austin, Texas and my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma are the early favorites to land the lucrative facility, and between the Big Fucking Field and Mayor GT Bynum tweeting he’s ready to buy local, Tulsa’s got this in the bag. Come on home, Elon!


If you enjoyed this edition of the Sunday Special, consider subscribing to the ATM: At The Minute Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Any and all feedback is appreciated. Have a great week.

Published by Peter Mitchell

Oklahoma-raised, KC-based. I like covering NBA, NFL, and Fantasy Football, among other things.

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