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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

Deciding For Yourself


By Fred Wallace

Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".


One of the few redeeming aspects of being somewhat sequestered has been watching the Netflix documentary, " The Last Dance " centering on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls 1997-98 season.

I'm not the biggest basketball fan on the continent, but this presentation is very well done and certainly compelling.

" The Last Dance " label is a reference to Bulls coach Phil Jackson who used the phrase as a motivational tool for an attempted 3-peat of NBA Championships for Chicago.

The central figure in the show is Michael Jordan. 

Highlights, interviews from the archives woven with contemporary and updated interviews with Jordan, and so many others, gives the viewer an exceptional overview of both the player and the person during so many climatic moments along the road.

The producers leave very little doubt that Michael Jordan was the greatest player in that era of the NBA, and they leave little room for argument that Jordan is the greatest of all time.

But after that, the viewer gets to decide whether they like Jordan or not.

Truthfully, through the series my viewpoint on Air Jordan rotated 360 degrees depending on where the spotlight at any given moment was.

I gushed at his natural ability, especially his ability to come up big in the clutch.

To a certain extent, I admired his overwhelming drive to win.

Then again, that drive also contributed to moments where he came off as a bully, or in the terms of my teenage years, a prick.

He was extremely loyal. At the same time, he was extremely vindictive on so many levels.

And just when you didn't like the person on the screen, you also felt sympathy for the constant pressure he was under, the perpetual demands on his time. plus a high level of sympathy when his father was murdered and in the aftermath Jordan faced ridiculous media speculation, many reports which implicated him in the death of his dad.

Michael Jordan was an exceptional athlete, maybe the greatest in the history of team sports, and based on the " The Last Dance " Michael Jordan was also an exceptionally complex individual.


I'm Fred Wallace

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