The Last Dance, the blockbuster docuseries chronicling the rise of superstar Michael Jordan, has had viewers captivated only to leave them wanting more of the action. Although ostensibly a documentary about basketball, the 10-part Netflix release has proved to be a hit with sports fans but also those who wouldn't consider themselves as such. Following the great Chicago Bulls team of 1997-1998, as they challenge for an unprecedented 6th NBA championship, the series focusses on their talisman and greatest basketball player to ever step foot on a court, Michael Jordan. MJ's competitive drive, supreme ability, and charisma makes for binge-worthy viewing, but are we to believe everything we see in The Last Dance? Let's take a look at some of the claims by those who say we shouldn't.
Towards the end of the docuseries, Michael Jordan laments the fact that Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Jerry Krause decided to break up the six-time winning team, opting to trade and release players in order to start building again. Jordan claims that wasn't sure why this decision was made, as there was still an appetite among the players to reunite and challenge for a seventh title. Steve Smith, the author of The Jordan Rules, who appears occasionally in the documentary, calls this is a 'complete and blatant lie'. Smith claims there was no way this was ever a possibility, and that a dramatic decision to split up the Bulls was purely artistic license.
One of the most dramatic sequences of The Last Dance is the build-up to Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, where the Bulls were on the road in Utah, preparing to play the Jazz in a must-win game. On the night before the game, Jordan got hungry and resorted to ordering a pizza as it was the only outlet in town still serving food. The pizza's arrival caused panic among MJ's entourage, who were suspicious that so many delivery men had arrived with the food, and they warned him not to eat it. Jordan couldn't be talked out of it, however, and a few hours later was throwing up in his hotel bathroom. Although in a terrible state, the Bulls number 23 somehow managed to muster the energy to take part in the game, scoring 38 points in what many consider the greatest performance of all time. Again, Sam Smith pours cold water on this sensational story, claiming that neither a pizza nor a hangover had anything to do with the state Jordan found himself in.
"Lie, lie, lie," is what Jordan's former teammate, Horace Grant said about MJ's claim that he was the inside source for Sam Smith's book The Jordan Rules, which painted 23 in an unflattering light. Grant also claims the edit of The Last Dance shows a one-way relationship between Jordan and his teammates with regards to passion and criticism, when in actual fact, those teammates often bit back, according to Grant. Grant also claims that Jordan often went too far with his attempted motivation, another key area that was glossed over by producers of the series.