Last night, basketball fans across the world were treated to the last two episodes of “The Last Dance,” which recapped the end of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls dynasty with its titles in 1997 and '98 against the Utah Jazz. With the documentary finally complete, we now have a fuller view of Jordan's unforgettable career thanks to never-before-seen footage and first-person perspectives from the man himself. With that in mind, here are five big takeaways from “The Last Dance" that we didn't fully understand before.
5. "Traveling Cocaine Circus"
Before the Bulls dynasty started in the 90’s, Jordan’s first few years in Chicago were not exactly the best. MJ recounted the story of walking into a teammate's hotel room as a rookie and witnessing what was more or less a wild frat party, to put it in tamer terms. Everyone knew that they were going to get a candid perspective from Jordan this time around, but not that candid. MJ described this scenario with the instant-classic phrase "traveling cocaine circus," though he made it clear he was not one to participate.
4. Rodman Being Rodman
A member of both the Bad Boy Pistons and the second three-peat Bulls, a wrestling superstar and at one time, Carmen Electra’s husband, absolutely no one did the 90’s better (or badder) than Dennis Rodman. On the court, the Worm gave 100% each and every night. That was, of course, until he stepped off the court. Taking midseason trips to Vegas, appearing at a WCW event with Hulk Hogan smack in the middle of the ’98 Finals and being chased by the media constantly was pure Rodman. The greatest detail in the doc? Electra describing hiding herself when Jordan appeared at Rodman's hotel room in Las Vegas to drag him back to Chicago.
3. The "Flu" Game
It was never the flu -- it was food poisoning! Put it like this: If five guys deliver a single pizza in Salt Lake City to Michael Jordan the night before a huge game, nothing can go wrong, right? Dead wrong. The day of Game 5 of the 1997 Finals started with Jordan being curled up in a ball, according to trainer Tim Grover. As we all know, the night of Game 5 ended with a Bulls win and a sickly Jordan carried by Scottie Pippen, but hearing Jordan and his inner circle speak about this episode firsthand gave it extra significance.
2. Scottie Pippen's Contract Dispute
Everyone in the NBA world knew Scottie Pippen was underpaid, but after learning even more about the behind-the-scenes drama this unfortunate fact caused, his contract just feels like a crime. Pippen was locked into a seven-year, $18 million deal that he tried to re-negotiate, but team brass would not budge. Pippen put off foot surgery during the summer of '97 and missed a portion of the 1997-98 season in doing so; after putting grievances aside with both GM Jerry Krause and owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Pippen returned and helped Jordan to a sixth championship. You wouldn't be wrong if you still feel mad about that contract today.
1. Don't Just Blame Jerry Krause. Blame Jerry Reinsdorf, Too.
Bulls players, as well as Phil Jackson, clearly did not respect general manager Jerry Krause. After all, he was the one who said Jackson would not come back in 1998-99 even if he went 82-0; the writing was on the wall that it was truly the last dance. At the conclusion of the doc, however, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf said that he could have brought Phil and MJ back, but it would cost too much to bring back the whole supporting cast along with them. Chicago truly was robbed of a chance at an incredible seventh championship -- even MJ said he would have signed another one-year deal if the rest of the core group came back!