Anyone who has failed to tune into Netflix’s recent cinematographic feast ‘The Last Dance’ that finished this week needs to take a long, hard, (I’d even go as far as saying) protracted look at themselves and their habits.
If you have not been watching, and somehow missed avoided this cultural typhoon, then I feel for you (and your not having an American sports enthusiast for a brother to turn you onto this stuff).
Then again, this pity most certainly comes with a large dollop of envy. Envy it is that you have the whole of ‘The Last Dance’ to catch up on; whenever it is that you decide to do so (if you have already tuned in, then you will know that this is some riveting television).
“Well so many people said it was amazing that I wanted to see what I was missing out on” is something that I hope will reverberate around different people’s houses and living rooms as and when they hear of the show’s brilliance. That’s the lovely thing about the modern day too – that though you may be slightly late to the party, it is comforting to know that these things can be ‘caught up on’ at the click of your computer mouse.
I for one cannot wait until you see the light of day and start watching – because I can give you a cast-iron guarantee you shan’t be disappointed.
More of an anthological case study than a sporting documentary, ‘The Last Dance’ charts the almost superhuman personality traits that made ‘Air Jordan’ what he was; the greatest basketball player that ever lived. The documentary series does its best to chart this extraordinary sporting talent; whose routine scoring of 30 or more points by himself eventually got to the point of expectation rather than surprise. (For the basketball novices out there – of which I am undoubtedly one – that is effectively something like scoring a hattrick of goals (and then more) with a football; every single time you take to the field). The rumours of his almost implausible talent are true – and ‘Air Jordan’ has rightly gone down in history as the greatest and most prolific player in the history of basketball.
But the series is about more than just the ‘on court’ MJ (as he has become known). ‘The Last Dance’ is more of a study of humankind and the human condition than simply basketball. Life for MJ was a competition, and as one sees in the documentary; there wasn’t a single facet of life that he didn’t turn into a contest. The game of basketball is the obvious one, but this was flanked by the repeated games of ‘coin toss’ with his security detail; by the innumerable games of cards and by his being a serial gambler. Jordan was an unashamed cardshark, although with less emphasis on the actual cards and more on the game and the competition against somebody else. As you may have seem / (will see if you heed my humble advice) – life was a competition for Jordan – and judging by his legacy it was a competition that he excelled in.
The Chicago Bulls will certainly be glad Netflix took it upon themselves to tell the Michael Jordan story… The man who had already pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise sales over the years has done it again. Sales of Chicago Bulls merchandise are up 400% since the documentary. (Remember what I said about ‘legacy‘?)
All in all, and I know I am far from the only one thinking this; ‘The Last Dance’ has been the perfect thing to have at one’s disposal while locked in at home in these strange old times. Life without even a suggestion of live sport is an unbelievably tough pill to swallow – but I guess we have Netflix and ‘The Last Dance’ to thank for making it ever so slightly more bearable.