ESPN reminded sports fans and media that its epic 10-part documentary series on Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls and the team’s drive for a sixth NBA championship is on the way.
According to a new trailer released Tuesday (one year after the first trailer debuted), The Last Dance will premiere in June. That follows the timeline ESPN has promoted all along, saying the documentary would drop in the summer of 2020.
Check out the shorter preview that was posted to Twitter (also available on the ESPN website). The documentary includes all of the key figures you’d expect: Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson, Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Steve Kerr, and many others associated with the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls.
Who else is in the film? Apparently, everyone!
— ESPN (@espn) December 24, 2019
Notice the ABC logo alongside ESPN at the end of the trailer. That likely indicates The Last Dance will premiere on ABC as happened with ESPN’s last epic documentary, O.J.: Made in America, which debuted on network TV around the NBA Finals.
How many other documentaries can you say features interviews with Barack Obama and Carmen Electra? Other figures among the film’s more than 100 interviews include Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo, Gary Payton, Pat Riley, Justin Timberlake, Bob Costas, Willow Bay, Isiah Thomas, Roy Williams, and many, many more.
This documentary may have needed at least five parts just to fit in all the interviews.
The array of conversations demonstrates what a phenomenon the Bulls were in the culture as they pursued a third consecutive championship and sixth overall. The Bulls weren’t just popular in sports. They were entertainment. They were celebrities. Everybody loves a winner.
A longer version of the trailer, which includes extended footage from the documentary, is also available online:
So many cigars!
The parts of the documentary focusing on the tensions between Scottie Pippen and his teammates, especially Jordan and Rodman, promise to be intriguing. Did Pippen resent being second fiddle? Did Jordan think Pippen didn’t give everything he could to the championship cause?
That 1997-98 Bulls squad also had the look of one last great run, a final tour for a historic team. Phil Jackson was going to step down as coach and Jordan didn’t intend to play for another coach. Additionally, General manager Jerry Krause seemed determined for the Bulls not to get old and watch its championship window close, as happened with the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons teams that won NBA titles before the Bulls’ dynasty.
A powerhouse team for sports documentaries was also formed behind the scenes for this project. The series is directed by Jason Hehir, who’s helmed several 30 for 30 films including The Fab Five and The ’85 Bears, in addition to HBO’s Andre the Giant doc. And the film is produced by Mike Tollin and his Mandalay Sports Media company, which has been the creative force behind a tremendous number of sports docs, feature films, and TV series.
The Last Dance is also expected to be available on Netflix next fall.