Pat Benson: The Last Dance Documentary Reaction

Monday, May 18, 2020 - by Pat Benson
Pat Benson
Pat Benson

Whether it’s teaming up with Bugs Bunny to defeat aliens, or entertaining a country stuck in quarantine, Michael Jordan always saves the day. The epic 10-part documentary titled The Last Dance could not have come at a better time. Unless you count German soccer or Korean baseball, we haven’t seen any live team sports since March.

Sports fans everywhere have been thirsting for something to get our juices flowing. The documentary gave us something to look forward to on Sunday nights and spurred a giant internet discussion on something besides the virus. So, one last time, let’s highlight some of the best parts of the documentary.

Winner

The biggest winner in all of this is Michael Jordan.

Leading up to the first episode, he told Robin Roberts that he was worried the documentary would make him look bad. That could not be further from the truth. Sure, he torched his teammates, made fun of Jerry Krause, and kept an enemies list longer than Richard Nixon’s – but this documentary did an excellent job of showing the price of being the greatest basketball player of all time.

A whole new generation of fans learned why Michael Jordan is considered beyond reproach in basketball discussions. Plus, it refueled his number one business – selling sneakers. Lebron James’ quest for overtaking Jordan just got even more difficult.

Sidekicks

My favorite component of the documentary was the behind the scenes footage of Jordan interacting with his teammates. Whether on the floor, in the plane, or sitting in the locker room – the team revolved around #23.

Pippen, Kerr, Rodman, Paxson, and the rest of the team still revere Jordan after all these years. Even at that time, some of them took to wearing over-sized Italian suits and sporting funny facial hair. The front office deserves a lot of blame for letting things fall apart, but their vision for putting the right role players around Jordan is unquestionable.

At the end of episode 7, Jordan started tearing up when explaining why he demanded so much from his teammates. Although I don’t think we should be giving people the Scott Burrell treatment, there is something to be learned from his lessons in leadership and accountability.

Rivals

Jordan feuded with everybody. The media, the bad boy Pistons, Dan Majerle, LaBradford Smith, Gary Payton, Reggie Miller, and Byron Russell, to name a few. For two decades, Jordan took note of every slight, every comment, every sign of disrespect and used it as fuel for his raging competitive drive.

Seeing the young-Bulls breakthrough against the Pistons was nothing short of inspirational. The big, bad bully was finally beaten, only to slink away with time still left on the clock. Those episodes of the documentary should be mandatory viewing in schools across the country.

Guest Stars

Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Carmen Electra, Justin Timberlake, and a plethora of media personalities. Jordan was bigger than basketball, his personality transcended sports and bled into American culture. Although this documentary did a good job of providing context, it’s one of those things that you just had to be there to understand.

Memes

Let’s end this on a lighter note. I don’t know why but watching Jordan’s reaction to seeing snippets of other’s interviews was comedy gold. The crying Jordan meme had a good run in 2017, but there were so many funny moments that will be repurposed into memes for months if not years to come. Unfortunately, most of them contain very explicit language not meant for this website.

--

There is still so much to unpack and discuss from this compendium of content. The music, the worm, the zen master. The makers of The Last Dance did an excellent job of capturing the nostalgia and the controversies surrounding the one-of-a-kind athlete. Before anyone under the age of 30 starts to detract from Michael Jordan, they must watch all 10 hours of this documentary, and even that might still not be enough to fully understand how much his airness means to the world.

--

Pat Benson has been a sideline reporter, P.A. announcer, and radio personality. Tweet him @Pat_Benson_Jr. 


Randy Smith: "Coach, Can I Have Your Socks?"

NASCAR Cup Series Coming To Nashville Superspeedway In 2021

Dan Fleser: Former Lady Vol Ashley Robinson Has A Talk With Her Girls


It was just two weeks ago on May 21st, I wrote a column wishing former Tennessee head coach Johnny Majors a happy 85th birthday. This morning I found out Coach had passed away. I was immediately ... (click for more)

In a surprise announcement by Dover Motorsports, Nashville Superspeedway in Wilson County will reopen in 2021 and its race schedule will include a race from NASCAR’s premier Cup Series. The ... (click for more)

Ashley Robinson runs a flourishing youth basketball program for girls and boys in Dallas. Combined with players that she trains, the former Tennessee Lady Vol has gathered more than 80 children ... (click for more)



Sports

Randy Smith: "Coach, Can I Have Your Socks?"

It was just two weeks ago on May 21st, I wrote a column wishing former Tennessee head coach Johnny Majors a happy 85th birthday. This morning I found out Coach had passed away. I was immediately saddened upon hearing the news because I respected him as much as I respected anyone I ever met. I have a lot of personal memories of Coach Majors, and I offered some of them in that previous ... (click for more)

NASCAR Cup Series Coming To Nashville Superspeedway In 2021

In a surprise announcement by Dover Motorsports, Nashville Superspeedway in Wilson County will reopen in 2021 and its race schedule will include a race from NASCAR’s premier Cup Series. The Cup Series hasn’t competed in the Middle Tennessee area since 1984, when the last Cup race ran at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. A “very tentative” date of June 20, 2021 has been set for ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Friends Of The Festival Cancels Riverbend 2020

Friends of the Festival, the nonprofit organization behind Chattanooga’s premier music festival Riverbend, has made the decision to cancel this year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Friends of the Festival is unveiling new plans to continue to deliver music to the city’s riverfront in light of the new realities brought on by the pandemic. In what would have ... (click for more)

Demetrus Coonrod, Other Council Members Call For End To Black On Black Crime; Advocate Peaceful Protest, Not Violence

City Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod on Tuesday night made an impassioned plea for an end to black on black crime. She did so after a recent Chattanooga murder left her granddaughter without a father. Councilwoman Coonrod spoke strongly in favor of protests against police brutality, but said there was no place for violence or destruction as part of that movement. Other black ... (click for more)

Opinion

Kudos Again To Demetrus Coonrod

In the aftermath of the tragic death of the young man in Minneapolis, Democrats and their sycophants in the media are carrying on the biggest scam perpetrated on the American people since LBJ with his Great Society and Tonkin Gulf incident in 1965. Thanks to Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod for publicly standing up to black on black crime, especially homicide, yesterday. Once again ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Two Inches From Hell

By ordinary standards it might be best described as one of life’s worst 1-2 punches, a pair of hard, personal blows that drop you to your knees. True, each devastating blow was uncommonly back to back. But, no, when I learned Wednesday morning that college football icon Johnny Majors had died just some 48 hours after another legend, Auburn’s Pat Dye, it was as though I’d been hit ... (click for more)