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Recap of Episodes 5 and 6 of ‘The Last Dance’

Last night, ESPN aired episodes 5 and 6 of their docuseries, “The Last Dance”. Unfortunately last week, we missed a recap of episodes three and four. To catch you up before we get into last night’s episodes, fellow Couch Guy writer Al Nahigian has put together some thoughts on the two installments we missed:

Episode 3:The Dennis Rodman Story is HILARIOUS!

C’mon, did we really expect anything less here? It’s Dennis Rodman. He was always a little bit out there. I mean, who hasn’t needed a vacation? We all have! It just so happens that Dennis’s vacation was way better than we could dream. Vegas? Carmen Electra? Being brought back to Chicago by Michael Jordan himself? Too good!

Episode 4: Phil Jackson Has SEEN Some Stuff

We’re talking about referees being shot. DURING THE ACTUAL GAME! You cannot get crazier than that. We all know how legendary of a coach Phil Jackson was in Chicago and Los Angeles. But the thing we really see here is how far he has come in his coaching. He’s talking Native American customs with Rodman. The man knows when and when not to push Jordan. He understood Scottie Pippen’s situation in his last season with Chicago. I don’t know about everyone else. But me? I became a much bigger fan of Phil Jackson after this episode.

The Last Dance continues next Sunday (5/3) at 9:00 PM ET on ESPNpic.twitter.com/AvMciaFdtT

-Al Nahigian (@BigAl2793)
I definitely agree with what Al had to say about episodes three and four. I pretty much knew beforehand what we were going to get on the Rodman side of things because I’ve seen ESPN’s 30 for 30 on him (I recommend). Still, that doesn’t make the person, and the things he did, any less entertaining or interesting. Anyhow, let’s move on to what happened in part 5 and 6 from last night:

Episode 5: Kobe, The Dream Team, and The Shrug

Episode five was jam packed for the most part. It started out with Kobe Bryant, who as we all know, passed away in a fatal helicopter crash earlier this year. This segment of episode 5 showed everyone the type of familial relationship that Jordan and Kobe shared. That was evident in the way they played, but it showed the respect Bryant had earned from Jordan at quite a young age. The snippet below was probably my favorite part from last night.

After reliving the start of MJ and Kobe’s relationship, the doc moved on to the 1992 Olympics. This was, “The Dream Team” (the team that nobody wanted Isiah Thomas to be a part of). I was a little surprised the series didn’t mention how dominant the team was, but it also had other things to focus on.

First off, we had the legendary dream team practice.

Obviously there is a lot that goes into unpacking the entire practice, but the key takeaway for me was the fact that this was a symbolic changing of the guard. Jordan took on Magic’s squad and won despite being down late. He also had some great trash talk in the practice telling Johnson that, “this isn’t the 80’s”.

Secondly, we have the Tony Kukoc “issue”. There wasn’t anything wrong with the Croatian small forward, but when general manager Jerry Krause dubbed Kukoc “the future of the Chicago Bulls” both Scottie Pippen and Jordan were rubbed the wrong way. They reacted by mercilessly attacking Kukoc in the United States’s first matchup with Croatia.

You have to have felt bad for the guy because he knew nothing of the situation. He was getting torn to shreds by two of the greatest basketball players on the planet because he was thinking about making a jump to the NBA.

And towards the end of the episode, we got the 1992 NBA Finals. This series (Bulls vs. Portland Trail Blazers) came synonymous with the “Jordan shrug”, but this part of the documentary stood out to me because of what MJ had to say.

Before the series, Jordan was being compared to Clyde Drexler (a NBA Hall of Famer). That wasn’t good enough for number 23 who said, “Clyde was a threat, you know, I’m not saying he wasn’t a threat. But me being compared to him, I took offense to that.”

My word. That quote showed me how cold blooded Jordan really was: he couldn’t be near the top, he had to BE the top.

Episode 6: Controversy and Chuck

Episode 6 definitely had less to it. The episode centered mostly around Jordan and the controversy that surrounded him during his time in Chicago. There was the issue with Sam Smith’s book “The Jordan Rules”, the issue with him not openly supporting Harvey Gantt, and (biggest of all) his gambling problem.

After watching this segment, Jordan really gets humanized. Most people think of him as this god-like figure, but he is just a normal person like you and me. Jordan didn’t want media everywhere getting all up in his business and he didn’t want to be a political activist. Most of all, Jordan just wanted to play basketball.

Still, Jordan did like to do more than basketball. One of his favorite things to do? Gamble. This is relatively known, but the documentary put a spotlight on it, and gave us one of the greatest quotes of all time.

At the end of episode 6, it showed us Jordan and the Bulls pulling away from Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns to win their third championship in a row. Jordan was once again masterful in the series, but you could see the relief in MJ after beating the Suns.

Obviously this is the documentary setting us up for his brief retirement, but man you could see how wiped out he was. I guess he must’ve needed that break just so he could come back and win a ring three more times.

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– Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)

Featured image courtesy of Twitter / @SixersSaturdays

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