This article originally appeared on ‘Good Morning Wilton,’ and is being republished with the permission of the author/editor.
By Heather Borden Herve, GMW Editor
“The Last Dance” is a 10-part documentary series about Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls that was 20 years in the making. Already highly anticipated during the time it was being produced, starting in 2016, ESPN moved up the scheduled airdate from June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and began airing the series over five consecutive Sundays starting April 19.
One of the producers, NBA Senior VP of Content Production Dion Cocoros, lives in Wilton, and sat down for an exclusive interview with GOOD Morning Wilton about the making of the film and its impact on the world of sports–both in general and during this unprecedented time.
The series was produced using never-before-seen footage from the 1997-98 season as the Bulls chased its sixth NBA championship in eight years. The footage was shot by NBA Entertainment film crew that Jordan, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and head coach Phil Jackson agreed to allow follow the team all season long. The footage then sat in the NBA archives until it was ‘unearthed’ in 2016 and turned into “The Last Dance.
The series will also be available in the U.S. later in the year on Netflix.
Directed by Jason Hehir (“The Fab Five,” “The ’85 Bears,” “Andre the Giant”), “The Last Dance weaves its way through the tumultuous 1997-98 season. Viewers are transported back to how it all began–from Jordan’s childhood roots, the Bulls’ dire circumstances before his arrival and how the team was built after drafting him in 1984, to the struggles that eventually led to the team’s first NBA championship. As the series takes the audience through the Bulls’ first five championships, viewers experience the off-court challenges, struggles, and triumphs that were a part of the culture-shifting phenomenon created by Jordan and the Bulls.
It’s an unlikely scenario that serves as a fascinating backdrop for the inside tale of the 1998 championship run, with extensive profiles of Jordan’s key teammates including Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Steve Kerr, head coach Jackson, and featuring dozens of current-day interviews with rivals and luminaries from basketball and beyond. All throughout, the tension and conflict that defined that final championship run are very much on display.
Remaining episodes will air on ESPN:
- Sunday, May 10 at 7 p.m. (Episode 5 re-air); 8 p.m. (Episode 6 re-air); 9 p.m. Episode 7 Premiere; and 10 p.m. Episode 8 Premiere.
- Sunday, May 17 at 7 p.m. (Episode 7 re-air); 8 p.m. (Episode 8 re-air); 9 p.m. Episode 9 Premiere; and 10 p.m. Episode 10 Premiere.
This story includes elements from an ESPN press release.
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