Air Jordan: New Netflix NBA series ready to lift our lockdown spirits from today

Air Jordan: New Netflix NBA series ready to lift our lockdown spirits from today
Michael Jordan rises to score against Utah Jazz in the 1998 NBA Finals. Picture: John Biever

AT any stage, a 10-part docuseries on one of the most talented and fascinating athletes of all time would be essential viewing.

During the Covid-19 sporting wasteland, The Last Dance will be a treat as sweet as the first piece of chocolate after Lent. 

Going behind the scenes of Michael Jordan's last season with the Chicago Bulls, the opening pair of episodes screened on ESPN Stateside on Sunday night and are on Netflix from 8am today.

This promises to be more than just a highlight reel of Jordan's magic moments on the hardwood, though the footage will be incredible. 

An NBA crew followed Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Phil Jackson and co from the off as they progressed to the NBA Finals and their sixth title in eight years. Their work had been in cold storage since but we've been assured this is less a hagiography and more a career-spanning retrospective.

MJ was an almost mythological figure and there's no doubt the marketing power of Nike and his coveted Air Jordan runners were factors. 

He starred in a movie with Bill Murray and Bugs Bunny while hours of endless fun were knocked out of taking control of Pippen and Jordan playing NBA Jam on the Sega Megadrive.

In reality, though he is the greatest NBA player of all time with an incredible combination of aggression, flair, explosiveness and skill, he was an extremely complicated figure. The ruthlessness that made him so successful on the biggest stage, alienated team-mates.

He was drafted in 1984 but struggled for a while to marry his scoring prowess in the regular season with the team ethos needed in the play-offs, where the 'Bad Boys' incarnation of the Detroit Pistons often foiled the Bulls. 

There was a detour into minor league baseball after the death of his father and then a comeback for two seasons with Washington when he was a fading force; the subject of a gripping book: When Nothing Else Matters. 

Jordan had a grá for high-stakes poker and golf, touring Irish courses in 1999. 

Michael Jordan waiting for his friend to putt at Lahinch Golf Club in 1999. Picture: Brian Gavin/Press 22.
Michael Jordan waiting for his friend to putt at Lahinch Golf Club in 1999. Picture: Brian Gavin/Press 22.

He now owns the Charlotte Hornets, a franchise as irrelevant to the current NBA as Jordan was dominant when he was playing.

More than enough then, to keep us watching Netflix for the next five Mondays.

A great read on Jordan's Washington phase.
A great read on Jordan's Washington phase.

ESSENTIAL READING...

Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made; 

When Nothing Else Matters: Michael Jordan's Last Comeback;

Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever; 

Michael Jordan: The Life; 

Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.

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