SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FIRST TWO EPISODES OF THE LAST DANCE, SCROLL TO THE 2ND HALF OF THE ARTICLE!
ESPN's The Last Dance Documentary about the memorable 1997-98 season of Michael Jordan and company in Chicago was originally set to release in June, but due to the COVID-19 situation taking away all live sports (Baseball season, NBA playoffs, March Madness, Stanley Cup, Summer Olympics), along with much of our sanity, ESPN decided to push up the premier to April 19th. For those of you who don't know, a camera crew followed the team, producing 500+ hours of all-access footage during the season. After years of push back, Michael Jordan agreed in 2016 to have the documentary put together, produced and released to the public.
What we saw on April 19th was the first two episodes of a 10-episode docu-series. I must say, we felt completely lost with the absence of all the major sports and it was a GREAT idea for ESPN to push up the premier date to fill, or attempt to fill the void. Here are a couple takeaways that both I and others have walked away with the first two episodes with.
So, let's talk about it!
Michael Jordan's right hand man, and arguably one of the greatest small forwards to ever play the game was shown in a light maybe not a lot of us had the time or energy to sit down and think about. Scottie Pippen was a seven-time All Star, eight-time NBA All-Defensive Team and six-time NBA Champ and was making a shocking $18 million over the course of his tenure with the Bulls, eight years. I mean, I'd be happy with an $18 million in my bank account, but we're talking about probably the greatest sidekick in all of sports history. Many say that there would not have been a Michael Jordan, if not for Scottie Pippen.
Scottie entered the season in question (1997-98) as the 122nd highest-paid player in the league. Let's compare that to today's league, shall we? If we break it down, $18 million over the course of eight years is approximately $2.25 million a season. For the 2019-2020 season, 325 players made more than $2.25 million for the year. The 326 highest-paid player last season was Aaron Holiday for the Indiana Pacers. Holiday was a former 1st round pick, who averaged 9.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.3. assists a game for the 2019-2020 season. In the 1997-98 season, Scottie averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game.
Let's just face it, the NBA and the Chicago Bulls got away with highway robbery by not giving Pippen his worth. But, let's move on.
2. Michael Jordan's No Quit Demeanor
Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen. - Michael Jordan
To be as good as Michael Jordan was at his job, you have to have that certain type of mentality, the competitiveness, never letting up, giving it his all 100% of the time. In the third game of the 1985-1986, Jordan suffered a broken left foot, sidelining him for 64 games before coming back just in time to play in the last 15 regular-season games for the Bulls. Getting back on the court was the only thing on Jordan's mind. On a personal note, I know exactly what he was going through, suffering a broken ankle at the beginning of my own sport season, sitting me out for the entire summer last year.
One he made it through rehab, Jerry Krause, Bulls' GM placed Jordan on a minute restriction to prevent further injury. Jordan was allowed to play just 14 minutes a game, 7 minutes each half as he recovered to full health and strength. According to the documentary, the team doctor told Jordan there was about a 10% chance that if he cut his rehab short and rushed back to the court, he could face the end of his career much earlier than planned. Management didn't want to risk the health of their best player - Jordan saw it as a pessimistic approach. It was that no-quit attitude that carried Jordan through his illustrious career.
It all seemed to work out in his favor, because he led the team in scoring in the final eight games of the season and lead the Bulls to the playoffs. They ended up losing to Boston in the first round, but Jordan;s 63 points in the double OT loss in 1986, remains on the leader board as the most points in a playoff game.
Honorable Mention: I don't think anyone really understood how mean and spiteful GM, Jerry Krause was. His only mission was to break up the legendary Bulls team and rebuild. He wanted all of the spotlight on him. Not a fan.
Changing gears a little bit here. Here's one reason why you should be following Legion Sports on Twitter. We tweeted about our next topic briefly before the festivities started.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 NFL draft is being held fully digital. The first round took place on April 23rd. Let's review what happened. How does the digital plan impact the process we've all become accustomed to?
We're so used to seeing team personnel and front office gathered around a bunch of phones waiting to call in their selection for the draft. Team personnel, in compliance of the social distancing guidelines, were advised to be in separate locations at all times, using the phone and internet to keep up communications.
NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell took to Twitter to show a tour of his basement, where the draft announcements were made.
One of the most interesting parts about both the NBA and NFL drafts is to be able to see these kids show up to the draft with the custom suits and diamonds from head to toe. That was the first thing that came to my mind when I heard the draft was going digital.
I mean, Henry Ruggs sat in his living room in a bath robe:
Tua Tagovailoa didn't disappoint. He was decked out, and his parents donned accessories from their native, Samoa:
One really cool thing did happen last night that never happened before.
The 1st pick went to the Cincinnati Bengals, when they selected QB, Joe Burrow. Burrow started his career out at Ohio State, but made the decision for his career to transfer to LSU. That tilted in his favor. He broke season, and playoff records, took home the Heisman and a National Championship ring.
The 2nd pick went to the Washington Redskins, when they selected Defensive End, Chase Young. Legion Sports is stationed in the DMV, and so was Young. Young's dominance started at DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, MD. He was considered the most powerful defensive player in the draft. He'll be bringing his talents home to DC and suiting up for the Redskins.
The 3rd pick went to the Detroit Lions, selecting Cornerback, Jeff Okudah. It's being said that his confidence in his abilities is his best trait and will excel his career far beyond expected. He is the top prospect at his position.
We are looking forward to the next 3 rounds of the draft, as well as who will be named this year's "Mr. Irrelevant," the title given to the very last pick in the draft.
From Legion Sports to you: Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Active.
It will take a nation of millions to hold me back. -- Timothy Howard