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Why Michael Jordan decided to do ''The Last Dance''?

Perfectionism, competition and legacy theory

Why Michael Jordan decided to do ''The Last Dance''? Perfectionism, competition and legacy theory

The goal of each documentary is to reconstruct the facts, to tell a reality that the public has not had the opportunity to experience from the inside. The Last Dance promises exactly this: to tell one of the strongest teams in NBA history but above all one of the most cryptic and amazing champions of world sport from an authentic and unprecedented perspective. The question, however, arises spontaneously: why Michael Jordan - a character who in his career and after retiring has always limited his appearances in public and savored interviews, taking care of every aspect of his image and his every choice in a maniacal way - has decided to back in the limelight right now?

The New York Times tried to explain it by summing it up in one word: legacy. The theory advanced by the article is linked to the fact that in the last ten years one of the most pressing debates among basketball addicted is who, between LBJ and MJ, is the best ever, with the Ohio native who is earning year points for year with performances that do not tend to drop in level.
Jordan's goal may indeed be to defend Jordan-legacy and to maintain that gap between the six-ring Bulls and James, which cannot be filled. The series is having a lot of success and at the moment it has already been seen by more than 6.1 million viewers - a record ever for a documentary by the American network - numbers that also come from the absence of sports played in this period and a consequent monopoly of attention by sports-related docu-series.

At the beginning of the '97/'98 season, an ESPN crew (managed directly by NBAEntertainment, headed by Adam Silver, the current Commisioner) was given permission to follow Jordan and the Bulls wherever they went, so to be able to better document what everyone already knew would have been "The Last Dance"; material remained "frozen" until 2016. The reason? The "go-ahead" for using the footage could only be given by Jordan and was given on the very day when LeBron James and the Cavaliers were celebrating their 2016 NBA championship win in Cleveland. In addition, Jump23 - production company owned by Michael Jordan - was also involved in the documentary. Coincidence?

"When you see the footage of it, you're going to think that I'm a horrible guy" Jordan said before the preview of the documentary, as if he had to get his hands on a series of behaviors he already knew would be judged selfish but instead they simply correspond to the public image he has built up over the years: that of the sportsman obsessed with victory and competition.

The Last Dance narrative absolves Jordan's selfishness as a sacrifice in favor of competitiveness, as if it were an effort he made to fill his ruthless and insatiable desire to win. This is the side that in the end strikes and fascinates the spectators and that has allowed Jordan to be the best testimonial for a brand: an exemplary sportsman and an integral man, exactly as in the famous advertising Gatorade Be Like Mike.

Even the thorniest sides of MJ's character are constantly presented in good light, such as the bully attitudes with Jerry Krause, the spurs towards his teammates or the parties and drugs that Jordan kept away from.

This is the documentary about Jordan, who is also the first to declare how much he would never associate with his brand something that would not bring him personal advantages: "I don't just want to lend my name to a product, because in the end that product will always represent the my DNA. So I like to have some interest, I like to have some input, I like to have some active participation and there is nothing that comes up with my name that we don't deal with directly. "

This does not mean that "The Last Dance" is the way Jordan wants to reiterate that he has been the best ever, but it is his way of communicating that the "legacy" that he has created cannot be forgotten and replaced. not even from a new - presumed - GOAT.