Why Michael Jordan Didn’t Originally Want ‘The Last Dance’ Series To Air

NBA fans will soon be able to watch ESPN’s 10-part documentary series, “The Last Dance,” which examines Michael Jordan’s final campaign with the Chicago Bulls during the 1997-98 season.

And while fans certainly are waiting eagerly for the highly-anticipated series, it appears Jordan himself, at first anyway, didn’t want any part of it.

Why not? Because of how he knew the footage would look.

At least that’s what director Jason Hehir told The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch in an extensive interview about the series. Hehir specifically noted one of the first talks he had with Jordan about the project, and recalled Jordan thinking the public would see him as a “horrible guy.”

“‘When people see this footage I’m not sure they’re going to be able to understand why I was so intense, why I did the things I did, why I acted the way I acted, and why I said the things I said,'” Hehir recalled Jordan saying.

“‘When you see the footage of it, you’re going to think that I’m a horrible guy. But you have to realize that the reason why I was treating him (ex-teammate Scotty Burrell) like that is because I needed him to be tough in the playoffs and we’re facing the Indiana’s and Miami’s and New York’s in the Eastern Conference. He needed to be tough and I needed to know that I could count on him. And those are the kind of things where people see me acting the way I acted in practice, they’re not going to understand it.'”

The 1997-98 season was the first year Jordan had played with Burrell, who averaged 5.2 points in 13.7 minutes per game.

The series, which was originally scheduled to be released in June, has moved up amid the coronavirus pandemic (a way to help ESPN, and fans alike). The 10-part series will begin April 19.

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