Episodes 5 and 6 of the The Last Dance aired Sunday night (May 3rd).
My family room was vibrating from the bass of the documentary. Each montage of Michael Jordan highlights seem better than the one before it. Another weekend was capped off by inspiration from Michael Jordan. The Last Dance may just be perfect artwork.
This week’s episodes covered some heavy ground that included gambling, Kobe Bryant, and other tough topics. Just like many of the other greats, Michael Jordan became the focal point of negative headlines.
During these episodes, we got to see what it truly was like to be Michael Jordan.
Kobe & Jordan
We went dancing with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
It was interesting to see the dynamic between the two greats. I find myself wondering how their relationship was able to sustain itself. Two competitive beasts have a tendency to struggle to co-exist. Knowing that a relationship like their’s isn’t too common is what intrigues me the most.
“I was a kid that shot a bunch of airballs,” Kobe said during an interview in The Last Dance. “At that point, Michael provided a lot of guidance for me.”
As a kid who had just begun getting to know Michael Jordan, being introduced to Kobe was a highlight of my life. I was really just entering a consciousness for sports and it just so happened that time period was during the intersection of their careers. The two men seemed so similar that looking back, it was almost like they had just passed the baton to each other as role models for my young life.
Couldn’t have enjoyed the Kobe appearance more, last night. Stephen A. Smith brought up a great point this morning during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up. He really took time to highlight and analyze the competitive camaraderie between the two men. The way he describes it makes me appreciate the intersection between their careers.
It really makes me appreciate brotherhood and the idea of mentorship.
Michael was really under a lot of pressure.
When you really stop and look back over Michael Jordan’s career, he faced a lot more than just the on-court challenges. At one point in time, he was the center of a gambling investigation and episode 6 highlights the entire ordeal.
“Tell all” books like The Jordan Rules and Michael and Me: Our Gambling Addiction…My Cry For Help! were catalysts of the negative attention. Both books introduced the world to a dark side of Jordan’s life. While no one is completely certain of the truth, we all find it hard to believe that Michael had his struggles.
I’m not alluding to the gambling thing because honestly, it sounds like the media was just fishing for dirt. I’m more so talking about Michael’s struggles mentally. He was under a lot of pressure. The more I think about that pressure, the more I realize what this man truly faced as the King of basketball.
“Republicans buy sneakers too,”
Jordan said. The black community didn’t like it too much and that was the beginning of more issues for Jordan.
He was criticized for not endorsing Harvey Gantt for the Senate in North Carolina. Gantt was running against Jesse Helms for the seat and had asked Jordan for a PSA. Jordan declined to do the PSA but sent him a donation instead. That’s when he delivered the famous line, “republicans buy sneakers too.”
“I don’t think that statement needs to be corrected because I said it in jest on a bus with Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen,” Jordan said. “It was thrown off the cuff. My mother asked to do a PSA for Harvey Gantt, and I said, ‘Look, Mom, I’m not speaking out of pocket about someone that I don’t know. But I will send a contribution to support him.’ Which is what I did.”
For the record, he’s right: republicans do buy sneakers. It’s completely up to Jordan whether he wants to play basketball or be an activist. He’ll be the first to tell you that he has no interests in activism. We don’t have to respect that, but we should. On the contrary, he’d really be selling us short if he entered into activism simply to enhance his image but lacked sincerity.
I think our society is already flooded with those people, I prefer the sincere. They say that pressure is what makes diamonds. We have met the pressure behind the diamond.