Social media reacts to “The Last Dance” documentary’s premiere

It seemed as if the entire internet was waiting on pins and needles — and “The Last Dance” delivered.
The much-anticipated, 10-part, behind-the-scenes look at the final year of the Chicago Bulls dynasty unveiled its first two episodes on Sunday night, with fans, celebrities, NBA players past and present, and more all coming together to relive the waning days of Michael Jordan’s time in Chicago.
And, just like you, they all loved what they saw:

Michael Jordan’s Last Dance was fantastic and I loved all two hours of it!! Young fans that never got to see Michael play now understand why he’s the 🐐 of basketball!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 20, 2020

If I had 3 wishes in life. I think I would have asked for #TheLastDance
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) April 20, 2020

How long until Episode 3 starts? #TheLastDance
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 20, 2020

Is it next Sunday yet? #TheLastDance
— Chris Bosh (@chrisbosh) April 20, 2020

Anybody else just sitting on the couch trynna figure out how to go on with your night 😂😂😂
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) April 20, 2020

I could’ve watched all 10 episodes right now.
— Zach LaVine (@ZachLaVine) April 20, 2020

The 🐐 of basketball .
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) April 20, 2020

“The feeling of watching Jordan is unprecedented. It will never be felt again.”@ClubTrillion reacts to the first two parts of #TheLastDance
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) April 20, 2020

Indeed, in just the first two hour-long episodes, “The Last Dance” showed the depth of its storytelling, with over 20 different interview subjects featured in the opening 15 minutes alone. The stories were honest and riveting, with contemporary perspectives supplemented by an astonishing amount of all-access footage.
Wow. That was awesome. The timeline is a little weird. But the stories. The subplots. The nostalgia. And soundtrack is so good. The Game 2 highlight reel from the first round of the 86 playoffs that was set to “I’m Bad” by LL Cool J was so awesome. #TheLastDance
— Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) April 20, 2020

I couldn’t live tweet, I needed to focus: Bulls intro is maybe the greatest song ever, young MJ with the chains is the ultimate swag, it’s embarrassing what Scottie was being paid, Krause was the worst type of personality for this dynasty, this is magical.
— Joy Taylor (@JoyTaylorTalks) April 20, 2020

To recap, “The Last Dance” began with a 1997-98 Chicago Bulls team at a crossroads. Michael Jordan & Co. were coming off their second straight championship — and fifth in seven years — but there were questions about whether this group could run it back and win another.
Part 1 focused on the challenges facing the Bulls heading into that final season, particularly the prospect of a rebuild and the disconnect between the players and general manager Jerry Krause. In fact, Krause was a pivotal figure in the first two episodes of “The Last Dance,” which detailed the acrimonious relationship he had with the team and the way the players would ridicule him, often to his face.
Biggest takeaway from Episode 1: Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf had the audacity to recently say that all the Bulls players except Michael were nearing the end of their careers and that it was time after 1998 to rebuild. WHAT?!?! I WAS THERE. THAT TEAM WOULD’VE WON TWO MORE.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) April 20, 2020

Jordan roasting Jerry Krause gets funnier every time
— Barstool Chicago (@barstoolchicago) April 20, 2020

Through the first two hours, Krause became the closest thing “The Last Dance” had to an antagonist, despite the GM’s clear impact on Chicago’s six championships.
Krause deserves his credit for building and putting the Bulls in position to win championships. That can’t be taken away from him no matter what. #TheLastDance
— Quentin Richardson (@QRich) April 20, 2020

The animosity between Krause and Scottie Pippen around Pippen’s contract in the 90s powered much of the second hour on Sunday evening, but we’ll get there. First, the documentary turned back the clock to the early 80s — a time just before Jordan joined the Bulls, when the team was so unpopular, it was being outdrawn by an indoor soccer squad.
At the same time, Jordan was blossoming into a true basketball star at the University of North Carolina. He didn’t come to the Tar Heels fully formed, to be sure; instead, as his coaches and teammates recalled, he soaked up everything he could like a sponge, vowing to become the best player in UNC history:
“… And he never frickin’ turned it off.” #CarolinaFamily #TheLastDance
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) April 20, 2020

HOFer James Worthy on when MJ joined UNC: “I was better than he was … for about 2 weeks.”
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 20, 2020

We’d say that was mission accomplished.
Jordan famously hit the game winner to seal UNC’s 1982 championship as a freshman, and only got better from there, before declaring for the 1984 NBA Draft thanks in part to the advice of his coach, the legendary Dean Smith.
Dean Smith telling Michael Jordan to go pro because that’s what was best for him, instead of telling him to stay which would have been best for Dean Smith.
That’s a coach you want to play for.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) April 20, 2020

When Jordan left Chapel Hill, he entered a whole new world — and not just as an NBA player. As Jordan tells it in “The Last Dance,” the Bulls team his rookie year was notorious for recreational drug use, particularly cocaine — and Jordan wanted no part of the “Chicago Cocaine Circus.”
Instead, both culturally and on the court, Jordan made an immediate impact as a rookie.
Michael Jordan as a rookie:
▪️ 28.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.9 APG▪️ NBA All-Star▪️ Rookie of the Year#TheLastDance
— NBA (@NBA) April 20, 2020

Jordan’s Bulls were an exclusive show 👀
— ESPN (@espn) April 20, 2020

As an aside, the internet loved how President Obama was referenced on the broadcast: “Former Chicago Resident”. But why, you might ask, was that the label selected?
Dircetor Jason Hehir explained that while yes, Barack Obama is obviously a former United States president, what mattered for “The Last Dance” was his connection to the Bulls — and that connection was based on Obama being from Chicago. Hence, the prestigious title:
Former Chicago resident!
— David Gardner (@byDavidGardner) April 20, 2020

Regardless, with the first chapter of Jordan’s NBA story laid out, “The Last Dance” zipped from 1984 back to 1997. According to the documentary, Phil Jackson had a tradition of pinpointing a theme for each season. And for 1997-98, that theme was, well, “The Last Dance.”
The team knew this was their last hurrah together, which made winning a sixth championship all the more important. Appropriately, then, Part 1 ended with the Bulls receiving their 1997 championship rings and turning the page to their final year … all with that iconic music playing.
*Sirius by The Alan Parsons Project playsEveryone:
— SportsNation (@SportsNation) April 20, 2020

Speaking of rings, Part 2 shifted its lens from Jordan to the man who most helped him win those six titles.
In Jordan’s own words, “I didn’t win without Scottie Pippen. That’s why I consider him my best teammate of all time.”
MJ & Pippen were built for each other #TheLastDance
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) April 20, 2020

Pippen took a far different route to dynasty than Jordan did. He wasn’t highly recruited, and didn’t necessarily have realistic dreams of playing in the NBA. But he was persistent, and he grew into an incredibly well-rounded player.
The fact that he grew five inches between his freshman and sophomore years of college helped take those guard-based skills and turn Pippen into the Swiss army knife he’d become at the next level.
“He helped me so much in the way I approached the game, in the way I played the game. Whenever they speak Michael Jordan, they should speak Scottie Pippen.”#TheLastDance on ESPN
— NBA (@NBA) April 20, 2020

Pippen starts as a manager…no scholarship…wills himself to being an All-Time great-
It’s never easy if you want to be the best-
— Lincoln Riley (@LincolnRiley) April 20, 2020

Scottie was really the equipment manager at a D2 NAIA school. Practiced with the team. Finessed his way into a scholarship. Went from 6’1-6’9… fast forward. 5th pick in the draft. H O F . Don’t matter where you go. Work on your game. They will find you 🗣 #thelastdance
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) April 20, 2020

Pippen had matured into a sensational player in his own right, but he admitted in “The Last Dance” that he immediately recognized that Jordan was something special.
The two formed a fast friendship that became the perfect, complementary relationship on the court.
Mike from another planet lol… #TheLastDance … Pip slept on like a mf too smh
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) April 20, 2020

I’m Glad MJ clarified that he needed Pippen and how important he was to his championships!!! Bulls needed Scottie like Mustard Greens need Ham Hocks. Brings a different type of flavor!!!
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) April 20, 2020

Scottie Pippen’s impact on that team is still underrated. #TheLastDance
— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) April 20, 2020

For all his incredible skill, though, Pippen was incredibly underpaid, due to a long-term deal he signed in 1991, just before league revenue and player salaries took a leap. Pippen felt he had to sign the deal in order to make sure the people in his life were taken care of, and that meant he was locked in on a seven-year deal at $3 million a year:
Salaries during the 6 #Bulls Championship Seasons
MJ: $76.8M; Pippen: $14.7M
’90: MJ, $2.5M; Pippen, $765k’91: MJ, $3.2M; Pippen, $2.7M’92: MJ, $4M; Pippen, $3.4M’95: MJ, $3.8M; Pippen, $2.9M’96: MJ: $30.1M; Pippen, $2.2M’97: MJ: $33.1M; Pippen: $2.7M
— Spotrac (@spotrac) April 20, 2020

The Jordan Rules gets into a lot of why Scottie was so vastly underpaid. He came up extremely poor, so he craved long-term security/money up front. And then the league’s entire cap structure changed over the course of his deals.
— Chris Herring (@Herring_NBA) April 20, 2020

Because Pippen felt underpaid, he delayed surgery on his problematic back in an attempt to force the front office to renegotiate a deal — and that left the Bulls without Pippen to start the 1997-98 season.
Pippen’s absence exacerbated the Bulls’ issues, giving the two-time defending champions an air of vulnerability.
Scottie Pippen was the 122nd-highest-paid player in the NBA in ’97-98, but was easily one of the best players in the league. #TheLastDance
— ESPN (@espn) April 20, 2020

As the losses piled up, Jordan came down hard on his teammates and tried to carry the team on his own, on and off the court. It was the Jordan we know: unrelenting, unable to accept losing, competitive to a fault.
But where did that Jordan come from? Part 2 of “The Last Dance” pointed to Jordan’s childhood as the genesis of that fire. His parents pushed him to use his intelligence and drive to earn things in life, not wait for them to be handed to him. But perhaps more importantly, Jordan was driven to competition by sibling rivalry. He fought with his brother, Larry, both physically and for his father’s attention.
For Michael, basketball was a way to earn that affection, since he wasn’t skilled at using tools and working alongside his father, who was employed by General Electric.
Baby 🐐#TheLastDance
— ESPN (@espn) April 20, 2020

But, as you almost certainly know, Jordan failed to make his high school varsity basketball team as a sophomore, which further stoked that competitive flame.
From that crucible, the Michael Jordan of lore started to take shape.
Great parenting lesson #TheLastDance @Jumpman23 mom after getting cut…. NOT ‘the coach screwed you” “We are changing schools.””The coach doesn’t like you”. Nope. Simple “ work harder” That is straight talk. That is parenting not enabling.
— Seth Greenberg (@SethOnHoops) April 20, 2020

The Bulls got their first real taste of that legendary competitiveness in Jordan’s second season, when he suffered a broken foot. Unknown to the team, Jordan got back to playing basketball as quickly as he could — 90 minutes a day, at UNC — which left the calf on the leg of his injured foot stronger than on his uninjured leg, a telltale sign that he perhaps hadn’t been strictly following doctor’s orders. He insisted that he come back for the Bulls, regardless of the risk.
That situation gave us the single most indelible moment of the documentary so far. When the Bulls tried to reason with Jordan, asking him if he would take a pill that he knew had a 10% chance of killing him if he had a headache, Jordan famously responded:
“Depends how f—ing bad the headache is!”
Classic Michael Jordan from Ep. 2 of #TheLastDance
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 20, 2020

The two sides reached a compromise: Jordan would play seven minutes per half, and absolutely no more. So for 14 minutes, Jordan went “absolutely ballistic” in the most important moments of each game. It seemed to work, until a late-season game against the Indiana Pacers. With just 13 seconds remaining and the Bulls down 1, Jordan had reached his minutes limit, and then coach Stan Albeck refused to put him back in, no matter how Jordan tried to convince him to do so.
John Paxson subsequently hit the game winner, but the damage was done. Jordan believed the organization had prioritized losing and the prospect of a better draft pick over doing everything to make the postseason. From that point on, the relationship between the Bulls front office and its star player would never be the same. And unfortunately for Chicago, that would become a theme during Jordan’s tenure with the team.
It was all about winning with MJ. Miss that simplicity. You got in the way of that — MJ had no use for you.
— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) April 20, 2020

One thing we know with the benefit of hindsight: the Bulls did not miss a thing by not being in the 1986 lottery. That went down as a notoriously underperforming draft, most notable for the tragic death of Len Bias. (Lottery was top 7 picks back then)
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) April 20, 2020

Still, the Bulls did make the postseason, drawing a first-round matchup with the fabled Boston Celtics. And in Game 2 of that series, His Airness poured in 63, prompting Larry Bird to compare Jordan to, well, God.
“Our whole thing was just do what we can do to hold Michael down, but you don’t hold the great ones down.”
“That wasn’t Michael Jordan out there, that was God disguised as Michael Jordan.” – Larry Bird#TheLastDance on ESPN
— NBA (@NBA) April 20, 2020

He went golfing before game 2 with Danny and then turned around and dropped 63….. don’t talk to me😂✌🏽
— Sheldon Mac (@sheldonmacc) April 20, 2020

“I talked some trash to him that day – that might have been a mistake.” – @danielrainge 😂#TheLastDance
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) April 20, 2020

With Jordan proving his prowess yet the Bulls coming up short, Chicago needed to make some changes in order to become a title contender. Enter our old friend, Jerry Krause.
Krause moved one of Jordan’s closest confidantes, Charles Oakley, to the Knicks for Bill Cartwright, giving the Bulls a big man presence they desperately needed. That move, among several other trades and draft picks meant to build a team around Jordan, led to the organization’s first title (and three-peat), proving that Krause knew what he was doing when it came to making the team better.
Jerry Krause did do the draft-night dealing to make Scottie a Bull. Let’s not forget that
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) April 20, 2020

11) This is why you have to give Jerry Krause his props. In the 1987 draft, he traded for Scottie Pippen (number five overall) and drafted Horace Grant (10th overall). Two-thirds of the Dobermans. Come on.
— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) April 20, 2020

Fast forward to 1997, however, and Krause’s desire to keep tinkering meant kicking the tires on trades for Pippen. Krause wanted to move the injured star to extend the Bulls’ championship window, but ownership and the players were adamant that Pippen wasn’t going anywhere.
When he stayed, things got personal between Krause and Pippen, the latter of whom openly took shots at and ridiculed the Chicago GM.
Didn’t think it was possible for me to like Bulls ownership and management less. It’s even worse than I remember.
— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) April 20, 2020

And that’s where the first night of “The Last Dance” left off — with Pippen furious at the team, Jordan trying to keep it all together in the pursuit of a sixth championship, and the entire internet waiting for Part 3, even though we know how this ultimately ends. Surely, that’s the sign of an outstanding story.
Here’s a little taste of what’s to come. #TheLastDance
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 20, 2020

“Simulate week til next Sunday!” #thelastdance 🐐 🔥
— DeAndre Jordan (@DeAndre) April 20, 2020

10 hours just ain’t gonna cut it.
— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) April 20, 2020

And this is only episode 2 👀
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) April 20, 2020

#TheLastDance man wow! Can’t wait until next Sunday.
— Victor Oladipo (@VicOladipo) April 20, 2020

The Last Dance, I’m hooked already
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) April 20, 2020

MJ is awesome. Scottie is awesome. Basketball is awesome.
— Sam Dekker (@dekker) April 20, 2020

They should’ve gave us 5 episodes!!🤣🤦🏽‍♂️ #Tough
— Marvin Bagley III (@MB3FIVE) April 20, 2020

….AND you just know it’s gonna get better each episode. WE needed this!!! #TheLastDance
— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) April 20, 2020

Read More