‘The Last Dance’ premier brings us to rewind to Michael Jordan’s shot to beat Cavs

Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport
Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport /

On Sunday, “The Last Dance” will begin its’ syndication on ESPN, and though it seemingly mostly highlights the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls’ season, it still brings us to rewind to Michael Jordan’s shot to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1989 Playoffs.

Right now, it’s clear that NBA fans with the season suspended for the Cleveland Cavaliers and other teams, of which you can view more reported updates about here and also here, are pumped to see the first installation of The Last Dance on ESPN.

The first two parts of the ten-part documentary being syndicated on ESPN will begin on Sunday at 9 and then 10 P.M., and will be featuring footage from the 1997-98 Bulls’ season, and of which Michael Jordan will be taking a leading role, and this will feature tons of guests.

Some of those will be Jordan’s-then teammate and now-Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, artist/performer Justin Timberlake, and the late Kobe Bryant (as was h/t Pippen Ain’t Easy’s Luke Askew).

It was also truly something else to hear from a report from ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne on Saturday, that Jordan, who controlled the rights to the footage, essentially gave the go-ahead for The Last Dance to get under way to producer Mike Tollin during the 2016 Cavaliers’ championship parade.

The reason it happened then, as Shelburne touched on, was that Jordan’s/that Bulls’ team’s legacy was seemingly being called into question a bit and Jordan wanted to squash that.

Here was more on that timing of the MJ go-ahead for The Last Dance, per Shelburne, who noted how it’s not just a documentary about Jordan, but Jordan wanted to ensure that his story would be told when he was ready.

"“He couldn’t control time. But he could control when he allowed someone to tell his story.So this isn’t the definitive documentary about one of the greatest players of all time, Michael Jordan. It’s a documentary about one of the greatest teams of all time, the 1997-98 Bulls, with Jordan as a leading character.And he was ready to tell it, right after another player (James) and another teams (the Warriors) got dangerously close to challenging those legacies.”"

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The go-ahead from Jordan was seemingly a result of the Golden State Warriors breaking that ’95-96 Bulls’ team’s regular season wins record in 2015-16, and then LeBron James vaulting himself further into the G.O.A.T. conversation after propelling the Cavs to a historic 3-1 NBA Finals comeback win over that Warriors team.

Nonetheless, to me, given that Jordan in the earlier days, especially, was such a huge rival for the Cleveland Cavaliers, even with the time period this really features, with Jordan’s last year with the Bulls, this premier of The Last Dance to me brings us to rewind to MJ’s famous shot to beat Cleveland in the first round of the 1989 Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Jordan, at least to a very large degree, eliminated a really good Cavaliers team. That squad featured players such as Mark Price, Larry Nance, Brad Daugherty and others, such as Ron Harper, who played with Jordan and also was on that ‘98 Bulls title team and two others.

That had to have been so deflating, too, because the Cavs defeated Chicago in each of the six meetings between those two in that regular season.

In that deciding Game 5, though, of which were then just five-game series’ in those rounds, Jordan, who then had 44 points, took a few steps first back, lost Nance, and then got to his spot. From there, he rose and hit a double-pump mid-range J over Craig Ehlo to beat Cleveland at the gun 101-100, and move on to the Semis.

This was after Ehlo hit an interior look with three seconds left to take the lead after a delivery from Nance, too. It’s a painful memory for us Cavs fans, really, but looking back, the Cavs, losing in that way and losing to Jordan and the Bulls three other times in the postseason was nothing to be extremely disappointed about.

Realistically, LeBron (who is now a Los Angeles Laker) has given out similar treatment and eliminated some rock solid and well-balanced teams in his own right throughout the years as well when he was a member of the Cavaliers.

Plus, James hit a big-time buzzer-beating J to defeat the Bulls in a crucial Game 4 in the 2015 Eastern Conference Semis.

Moreover, even for us Cavaliers fans that are so grateful for what LeBron did in his years with Cleveland, and I’d imagine fans of say, the Detroit Pistons, the team Jordan and the Bulls really first had to get through and took several years to, The Last Dance should be really a pleasure to see.

Next. Cavs: Assembling their all-time starting five. dark

Granted, on a tough note, the beginning of its’ airing does bring us to rewind to “The Shot” by MJ in that 1989 postseason over Ehlo.