If LeBron James hopes to match the legacy of Michael Jordan, he needs his own version of The Last Dance, and according to Los Angeles Lakers radio voice John Ireland, that footage is being collected.
Ireland, who co-hosts a radio show with Steve Mason on ESPN Los Angeles, in addition to calling Lakers games, is the latest guest on the Awful Announcing Podcast. During the interview, which will be released in its entirety Friday, May, 12, Ireland was asked about the possibility of Kobe Bryant getting his own version of The Last Dance and the radio announcer shared news of a potential LeBron James docuseries.
“I hope I’m not talking out of school here, Andy Thompson, the guy who shot The Last Dance, Mychal Thompson’s younger brother, who has worked for the NBA for 30 years, has spent a ton of time with us this year. So if LeBron ever wanted to go down this road, I think Andy is stockpiling that just so he has it and has the opportunity to tell the story,” Ireland said on the Awful Announcing Podcast.
“If we go on a magical run to the title, Andy, who was the driving force behind The Last Dance, most of the stuff you saw in those 10 episodes was shot by Andy Thompson. And Andy’s a smart guy, he’s already working on, potentially, a story about the end of LeBron’s run like he had one for the end of Jordan’s run.”
The Last Dance was the brainchild of Andy Thompson, who as Ireland noted, is the brother of Mychal Thompson. Mychal Thompson, Klay Thompson’s father, is Ireland’s radio broadcast partner for Lakers games.
With Andy Thompson now collecting footage on LeBron, just as he did with Jordan during the Chicago Bulls 1997-98 season, it’s not a stretch to connect the dots and conclude that a docuseries about the end of LeBron’s career is possible. If LeBron wins a fifth championship during the later chapters of his career and goes on to play with his son Bronny in the NBA, the appetite for a Last Dance style docuseries to be released with all of this footage will only grow.
It took more than 20 years for Thompson’s Chicago Bulls footage to get turned into The Last Dance, so there is no guarantee that everything being filmed on LeBron will be used anytime soon. But the success of The Last Dance proves Thompson’s keen eye for content and validates the footage he’s collecting on LeBron.
As The Last Dance was airing on ESPN in 2020, Ireland also revealed a film crew followed the last two seasons of Kobe Bryant’s career.
“The good news is, if you’re a basketball fan, that all this footage exists,” Ireland told Awful Announcing. “Whether it ever comes out and they know what to do with it is another story, but they’re shooting it and it all exists.”