The only thing that I knew about Michael Jordan was his hallmark jumpman logo. Even though basketball is a big aspect of my home culture, I assumed it was just people chasing after a ball. The 2020 sports documentary, The Last Dance landed on my Netflix ‘suggested’. Directed by Jason Hehir, it centralizes on the legacy left by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman not only to the Chicago Bulls, but to the game of basketball itself. As a film buff, I’d hate to be my own gatekeeper so I indulged; conclusion: I was definitely ignorant with my assumption.
Admittedly, I was initially drawn to the production as the footage sequencing paired with a phenomenal soundtrack was only divine… But what hooked me was how it followed these players move through an earnest plane. The binary of the narrative and the production compel as they scope: we see these players play, but why do they? The authentic interviews that show them wrapping their fondness around Phil Jackson, discuss their disputes, and elaborate distaste towards Bull’s owner, Jerry Krause, detaches the “icon” aspect, and shines one the camaraderie and determination they pursued to get to their genius; “I wanted to win, I wanted them [teammates] to win and be part of it… that’s how we played the game,” as Jordan said.
The great lengths that they took to separate themselves from what they were expected to be, especially as black men growing up in ‘70s America, and the cultural figures they became, showed me that drive is how you play the game.