One of the best things on television right now is the ESPN docuseries “The Last Dance”, which chronicles the Michael Jordan Bulls Dynasties of the 1990s. The first few episodes has featured wild stories about Jordan’s early years, Dennis Rodman, and the 1992 Dream Team that won Olympic gold.
Last night was the least flattering part of the series. Really, except for the Kobe Bryant interview to kick the evening off it was almost all negative. Gambling habits, petty rivalries, and even politics all portrayed Jordan in a poor light.
While the gambling and rivalries were talked about in the 90s, our ultra sensitive culture found out about Jordan’s reluctance to help a North Carolina senate candidate decades ago. “Republicans buy sneakers” was the line that made everyone angry and the flimsiest of viewers began to swear off the entire series.
Leave it to politics to ruin what has been a great experience up to this point.
If you’re a regular reader, you know my background, and you know how much I hate to watch the corrosive nature of politics ruin a good thing.
Now, I don’t think the Last Dance is ruined. Far from it. I expect a great final four episodes, but I think forcing one of the most celebrated athletes of our time into politics was a mistake back then and it’s a mistake now.
Not everyone wants to be political. I felt the same way when the same over-sensitive internet bullies were forcing Taylor Swift to choose a side.
What if they just want to play music? What if they just want to play basketball?
That should be okay.
Really, we should all discourage this kind of bullying into the political fight. Even for someone like Jordan, who made this decision such a longtime ago.
Let’s use the final stretch of “The Last Dance” to focus on the real story of the Chicago Bulls and not a political sideshow.
And let’s make this just a footnote on a fascinating history of athletic greatness.