Peter Vecsey is annoyed.

That isn’t really a surprise, as that’s sort of the longtime columnist, reporter, and analyst’s entire brand. But specifically, he’s annoyed that ESPN and the producers of The Last Dance didn’t invite him to take part in the documentary. That’s according to an interview with Gary Washburn in The Boston Globe.

The piece is mostly centered around Vecsey comparing various eras of the game, including his thoughts on why the ’80s were better than the ’90s.

“To me, I thought the ’70s were damn good and the ’80s were great and the ’90s were great,” Vecsey told the Globe. “But the ’90s weren’t greater because Michael got six [titles]. I think when you had Magic and Bird and Julius and Kareem and those three teams and Houston. C’mon, the ’80s were better than the ’90s and the Pistons were in the ’80s. too.

“The ’80s, to me, were it. Jordan and the Bulls, I would have loved to see him have stayed for those two years [he retired]. I would have loved to see a healthy Jordan go up against the Knicks in ’94. It robbed his legacy that he didn’t go 8 for 8 [in titles]. And then let’s talk about him and Bill Russell.”

When The Last Dance came up, Vecsey’s displeasure at being left out of the proceedings was evident.

Vecsey did not want to comment specifically about “The Last Dance” documentary detailing the final year of the Jordan Bulls because he’s working on his own book on the topic. But he did, because he’s an authority on the topic who should have been approached about being part of the project, and he didn’t hide his disdain.

“ESPN never called me about ‘The Last Dance,’ ” Vecsey said. “It’s absolutely amazing to me that they could be that stupid. I had so many inside stories that were printed that they are not even going to address it. It’s amazing. They interviewed Sam Smith, they couldn’t avoid that. I was involved in all of that stuff [during the 1990s].”

So, why wouldn’t the people behind The Last Dance want Vecsey’s perspective? After all, it’s certainly true that Vecsey was involved during that era. Who can forget this interview with Karl Malone right after the Bulls won in 1997, for example?

Vecsey’s career earned him the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy award in 2009, the same year that Michael Jordan entered the Hall. Here’s Jeff Pearlman’s look at how that went (emphasis added):

And then, Vecsey took the stage.

He seemed to have no notes. No thoughts. No … nothing. He began not by expressing his appreciation, but by rattling off all the shunned players he believed belonged in the Hall. From there, he just … babbled. About this. About that. He seemed to be drunk, but I don’t think he was. The man was just, well, lost. He used language one doesn’t use in a Hall speech. He called out people’s names (“Calvin Murphy! Tiny Archibald!”), and you could literally see the men squirming in their seats. I was sitting about 10 feet from David Stern, who throughout the ceaseless banter dismissively shook his head while checking his Blackberry. Jordan, the star of the weekend, walked out. Just left, and never returned.

With Vecsey’s exclusion, viewers are missing out on opinions like this one about the NBA on TNT crew, which Vecsey gave to Sports Broadcast Journal in 2018:

I think Ernie (Johnson) is terrific, and he could well have more of a working knowledge of the game than Moe, Larry and Curly, any or all of whom are fully capable of adding nothing to a conversation at a moment’s notice.

We haven’t even gotten to the 2017 Twitter incident where Vecsey called LeBron James the n-word via quoted rap lyrics! (A tweet that is, remarkably, still up.)

When you add it all up, it really is a mystery as to why ESPN’s prestige documentary wasn’t breaking down doors to get Peter involved. They’ll just have to be satisfied with an inferior (critically beloved, ratings hit) final product.

[Boston Globe]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.