ESPN’s long-awaited The Last Dance debuted on Sunday night with the airing of two parts of the 10-part documentary series. The first two episodes gave fans an in-depth look into the making and deconstruction of the 90s Chicago Bulls dynasty. Here is a cliff notes summary of the hot topics from the first two episodes.
The Last Dance Almost Didn’t Happen
Imagine winning five titles in seven years and rushing to blow it up? Well, that’s almost what happened with the Bulls in the summer of 1997. Fresh off a second-straight title, Chicago’s front office evaluated the state of the team and considered rebuilding rather than chasing a second three-peat.
Jerry Krause Was a Hater
Krause seemed to resent the figureheads of the Bulls dynasty for receiving their share of credit, and possibly the biggest takeaway from the first two episodes was that Krause served as a punching bag for a lot of people. He felt that management didn’t get enough credit for building the dynasty. His back and forth with arguable the best NBA coach ever in Phil Jackson made Krause look extremely petty. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t be able to get much of a rebuttal from Krause’s side of things. He passed away in 2017 during most of the refective filming of this series.
Scottie Pippen Was Grossly Underpaid And Undervalued By The Bulls
Pippen was unbelievably underpaid during his Bulls career, and this episode brought that to the forefront. Pippen, wanting financial security, signed a 7-year, $18 million deal in 1991. Jordan openly admitted that without Pippen, he wouldn’t have won 6 championships. While management told him not to sign the deal back in 91, they didn’t offer any restructure to the deal, hell, they didn’t even offer to do that for Jordan.
The 80s Bulls Was a Partying Mess Before Jordan Arrival
In Jordan’s rookie season, he was able to lead the team into the playoffs. That was in spite of their party all the time ways. In one video clip, Jordan laughs about the “traveling cocaine circus” description of those Bulls. Jordan didn’t take part in the partying and drinking at the time. Instead, he played cards and watch movies.