“The Last Dance” Episodes 9 & 10: Recap and social media reactions

For the past month, sports fans have come together on Sunday evenings to enjoy “The Last Dance,” ESPN’s 10-part docuseries on Michael Jordan and his final season with the Chicago Bulls in 1997-98.
Sunday night, “The Last Dance” came to a close, as the series turned its focus to Chicago’s run to those 1998 NBA Finals, Jordan’s “Flu Game,” Dennis Rodman’s professional wrestling detour in the middle of that final series against the Jazz, “The Pushoff,” and much more.
And as always, the internet was out in full force with reactions, jokes, and appreciation for both Jordan and the storytelling. So for the final time, here’s how “The Last Dance” played out on Sunday.

On Dennis Rodman’s wrestling detour
Yes, it’s true. In the middle of the NBA Finals, after the Bulls won Game 3, Rodman missed practice to continue taking part in a professional wrestling storyline as a member of World Championship Wrestling’s New World Order, where he was allied with Hulk Hogan.
And NBA players in particular seemed to love the latest Rodman antics in “The Last Dance”:
🤣😂😂😂🤣🤣 https://t.co/Vpu4t7eNs0
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) May 18, 2020

Buddy got paid $250k to miss practice and media during the finals 🤣🤣 bruh really lived a full life ! Imagine him in an era like today. His Snapchat would’ve been “ fans only “ like 🤣
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) May 18, 2020

Yooo 😂😂😂😂😂 let us get 10 more episodes dedicated to Dennis Rodman
— Tobias Harris (@tobias31) May 18, 2020

Lol Dennis Rodman is the ultimate RINGER #LastDance
— Victor Oladipo (@VicOladipo) May 18, 2020

Rodzilla 🤣
— Buddy Love !!!! (@buddyhield) May 18, 2020

Why they chase Rodman out the building like that though 😂🤣😂
— Jordan Bell (@1jordanbell) May 18, 2020

Then he goes and plays hide and seek wit the media! https://t.co/M6dkWYsCWd
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) May 18, 2020

Dennis did what Dennis wanted too🤣
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) May 18, 2020

Dennis Rodman a legend 🙆🏾‍♂️🙆🏾‍♂️😂
— Bismack Biyombo (@bismackbiyombo) May 18, 2020

What “The Last Dance” didn’t mention, though, was that Rodman was in fact feuding with Karl Malone in that professional wrestling storyline — seriously, while also squaring off in the Finals — and the two would clash in the ring on July 12, just weeks after the Finals ended.
If you’re interested in learning more, the WWE Network has its own special dedicated to Rodman’s time in wrestling:
Dennis Rodman would miss practice to appear on WCW Nitro! 😲
Get the story on @dennisrodman’s time with WCW on @WWENetwork!#WWEUntold: Rodzilla Runs Wild streaming anytime on-demand:https://t.co/212pg6NiUO pic.twitter.com/xjEPLYsEu4
— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) May 18, 2020

On the Flu Game
For years, we’ve heard that Jordan’s gutsy performance in Game 5 of the 1998 NBA Finals might have been food poisoning and not the flu. And on Sunday, Jordan and his trainer, Tim Grover, confirmed that theory, telling a story of ordering a late-night pizza that was delivered by five pizza guys, traveling together, and then consumed by Jordan and Jordan alone.
It’s a great story, but color our Mark Titus, among others, highly skeptical of MJ’s version of events:
I don’t believe MJ’s story about the Flu Game for one second, but I also have no idea what to believe #TheLastDance pic.twitter.com/gRj06Zqgpu
— Mark Titus (@clubtrillion) May 18, 2020

Still, whatever the details of that game and the day preceding it, “The Flu Game” will always be part of the legend of Jordan.
“Food poisoning game” just doesn’t have the same ring to it…
“Flu game” stays.
— Cassidy Hubbarth (@CassidyHubbarth) May 18, 2020

Indeed, the shoes Jordan was wearing in that game, a black and red version of his Jordan XIIs, have since been known as the “Flu Game” colorway, and the pair he wore in that game would fetch a pretty penny in 2020:
Before the game-used Air Jordan I’s sold today for $560,000, the highest price paid for a pair of used Air Jordans was the “Flu Game” shoes bought for $104K in 2013.
They were given to Utah Jazz ballboy Preston Truman.
Price for those today? $1 million pic.twitter.com/CGx3py7YNH
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 18, 2020

Regardless of what happened, the details of the story, with so many people making the delivery, had Twitter cracking wise:
Gonna have to start checking that room service food delivery when we’re in Dallas now… 🍕😷 #FluGame #TheLastDance
— Lane Johnson (@LaneJohnson65) May 18, 2020

No problem out here when you play for the jazz lol https://t.co/qgynlmdG0X
— Georges Niang (@GeorgesNiang20) May 18, 2020

Let him who hasn’t ordered pizza despite knowing they were gonna vomit uncontrollably cast the first stone
— Pablo S. Torre (@PabloTorre) May 18, 2020

What if we find out the 5 Guys who brought MJ the pizza never got caught because they got out of the pizza business and started a burger franchise? #TheLastDance
— Charlamagne Tha God (@cthagod) May 18, 2020

“Malone’s pizza. We deliver”.
— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) May 18, 2020

At least now I know I ain’t eating pizza in Utah anymore😳💯
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) May 18, 2020

everyone’s asking why MJ would order a pizza late at night when five sketchy guys hand delivered it to his hotel room…like have you not been watching the doc?? the dude LOVED to gamble
— Jessica Smetana (@jessica_smetana) May 18, 2020

The flu game was a lie?! Who were those Utah Jazz fans who poisoned him?! And how have they stayed silent this long?!
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) May 18, 2020

Even the brands got in on the fun:
Delivery pizza. Go figure.
— DiGiorno (@DiGiorno) May 18, 2020

Well played, DiGiorno. Well played.
Anyway, while we’re here, take a minute to watch Stuart Scott’s classic call of the highlight of the Flu Game, the Pizza Game, the Food Poisoning Game, or whatever else you want to call it. We miss you, sir.
Stuart Scott’s “Flu Game” highlight of MJ will always be 💯#TheLastDance pic.twitter.com/5WNVybQktp
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 17, 2020

On Steve Kerr
Last week, we saw some of the more fraught moments in Kerr’s relationship with Jordan. But in Episode 9, His Airness showed Kerr the ultimate respect by dedicating an entire segment to Kerr, the loss of his father, and his success as the perfect role player for Chicago’s second threepeat.
And while “The Last Dance” didn’t necessarily explicitly say it, the bond between the two seemed to at least in part be built on their common sense of loss. The death of Jordan’s father has been an important touch point throughout the documentary; on Sunday, Kerr shared his story, in which his father was shot and killed outside of his office in Beirut, Lebanon, where he was a professor and president of the American University.
Dr. Malcolm Kerr – father of @SteveKerr – wrote what is considered a work of genius, the foundational text of Middle East politics in the ’60s, “The Arab Cold War.”
— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) May 18, 2020

Welp, the Michael Jordan – Steve Kerr connection/relationship/unspoken bond over their fathers is my new favorite untold sports story.
— KFC (@KFCBarstool) May 18, 2020

Steve Kerr is one helluva man.
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) May 18, 2020

The Steve Kerr segment about his dad has me in tears. Man. Tonight be sure to tell your loved ones that you love them
— Kevin O’Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) May 18, 2020

That Steve Kerr segment was really powerful. Really well done w a perfect closing line at the rally. Storytelling at its best.
— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) May 18, 2020

Between their battles and their brotherhood, Jordan learned to trust Kerr. So when it came time for the final play to win the Bulls’ 1997 championship, MJ told Kerr to be ready — and he was.
“I’ll be ready.”#TheLastDance pic.twitter.com/BOlGmGXC79
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) May 18, 2020

How cool was MJ telling Steve Kerr to be ready, Kerr saying, I’LL BE READY, then doubled MJ hitting Kerr right in rhythm for the game-winning 2-pt jumper … that after their practice fight. MJ prepared him, toughened him. Kerr, as MJ said, “earned his wings” with that shot.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) May 18, 2020

On Reggie Miller
Episodes 7 and 8 last week closed on Miller pondering the possibility that the 1998 Pacers might be able to retire Michael Jordan if they could beat the Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals. And while Indiana didn’t quite get the job done, they did force Chicago to a hard-fought seven games — largely because, well, Miller might be the most confident person in this documentary not named “Michael Jordan.”
No lie, I used Not like Reggie Miller so much because of his wars with MJ and the Bulls that when I 1st got in the league I used to want to fight Reggie!! Lol. #thelastdance
— Quentin Richardson (@QRich) May 18, 2020

i do love that reggie believed he was that dude. made things so much more interesting.
that also may be the first time i’ve ever seen reggie miller take anyone off the dribble. #thelastdance
— bomani (@bomani_jones) May 18, 2020

Miller was a consummate storyteller in Episode 9, sharing a tale from early in his career where he talked a little smack to Jordan as the GOAT struggled and Miller poured it on, only for Jordan to flip the script and fire back with a barb of his own:
“Dont ever talk trash to Black Jesus.” – Michael Jordan to Reggie Miller
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) May 18, 2020

Still, by Jordan’s own admission, Miller’s Pacers pushed the Bulls unlike any other team in their second run. As Episode 9 detailed, Miller even hit a famous game winner in the playoffs against Chicago that had all of Indiana celebrating — except head coach Larry Bird, who’d seen too much magic from Jordan to relax until the clock hit all zeroes.
The greatest reaction shot in TV history, for my money: Larry Bird, after Reggie Miller’s impossible shot, not smiling, looking up at the clock. Because he knew there was time. Because HE had made so many shots like that at the buzzer. The great ones knew.
— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) May 18, 2020

reggie miller has so much magic in him that i already know exactly how this series ends and i’m still sitting here watching this like “COME ON REGGIE PULL THIS OFF”
— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) May 18, 2020

 On “The Pushoff”
You know what’s kind of tired, according to both those involved with “The Last Dance” and those watching on Sunday? The notion that Jordan’s “push” against Bryon Scott made much of a difference in MJ’s ability to hit the game-winner that clinched the Bulls’ sixth championship.
Instead, as Bob Costas, the man who called those Finals, said, the hand on Russell’s backside “was the equivalent of maître d’ showing someone to their table” — a quote Kevin Love found rather enjoyable.
😂😂😂 “the equivalent of a maître d’ showing someone to their table”
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) May 18, 2020

Indeed, most everyone simply marveled at Jordan’s coming up clutch once again:
Best photo in basketball history #TheLastDance https://t.co/hB1lCOEy6Q
— Nikola Vucevic (@NikolaVucevic) May 18, 2020

Was that shot against Russell… Michael Jordan’s biggest shot of his career?! ?🤔
— DeMarre Carroll (@DeMarreCarroll1) May 18, 2020

#TheLastDance is giving me chills! Jordan is a bad man smh!
— Paul Millsap (@Paulmillsap4) May 18, 2020

Michael coming from the Blindside for the steal and then getting the greenlight from Phil to get a bucket and hitting a shot to win is the perfect summation of the MJ-Bulls experience in winning time. #TheLastDance #TheShot
— Tate Frazier (@tatefrazier) May 18, 2020

On “The Last Dance”
Sad though it may be, Sunday was the end of “The Last Dance.” And after it came to an end, fans, players, and the internet in general gave their thanks and appreciation for the documentary.
This MJ doc was special 🔥, they need to put together a Kobe one asap
— Tristan Thompson (@RealTristan13) May 18, 2020

These last 5 Sundays have been the vacation we couldn’t otherwise take right now. A great escape back to the 90s. Sports are great even when we don’t have live sports #TheLastDance
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) May 18, 2020

MJ….forever the GOAT 🐐 #TheLastDance
— Harrison Barnes (@hbarnes) May 18, 2020

We needed this 😭😭😭 #TheLastDance
— Robert Covington (@Holla_At_Rob33) May 18, 2020

They would’ve won 2 more at least!!
— Mario Hezonja (@mariohezonja) May 18, 2020

In the end, “The Last Dance” painted a portrait of a legend. It didn’t cover everything. It wasn’t always balanced in its treatment of all parties. And some parts weren’t pretty.
But it was unquestionably Jordan.
“Michael Jordan is the most voracious winner I’ve ever seen in my life.” —Jackie Mac with the pro assessment #TheLastDance
— Kevin Merida (@meridak) May 18, 2020

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