1. We finally found someone who isn't wetting themselves with excitement over The Last Dance.
While it seems the entire sports world is in agreement that ESPN's series on Michael Jordan and the Bulls is a spectacular watch, documentarian Ken Burns is having none of it.
The filmmaker, who created the 1994 Baseball series, told the Wall Street Journal that The Last Dance isn't for him because it's not good journalism.
“If you are there influencing the very fact of it getting made it means certain aspects that you don’t necessarily want in aren’t going to be in, period,” Burns said. “And that’s not the way you do good journalism … and it’s certainly not the way you do good history, my business.”
Burns also revealed that he hasn't watched any of the The Last Dance and that he would "never, never, never" agree to do it because Jordan's production company is a partner in the making of the series.
I absolutely HATE this take.
Why does a sports documentary have to be journalism? Why can't it just be entertainment? Why does it have to be "good" history? Why can't it just be a fun look back at a memorable time—which, in essence, is exactly what The Last Dance is.
Do I think ESPN should make it clear every week that Jordan is a partner in the series? Yes. Is it really that important? No. Jordan is on camera giving his opinion throughout the series. I think most viewers are smart enough to get that what we are getting is his perspective.
And guess what, Ken? This isn't a series about anything important or serious. It's a series about a basketball player and his team. It's sports. It's entertainment. Nothing more, nothing less. It's frivolous. It's unimportant. It's not anything to take a stance against.
This isn't like the O.J. Simpson doc or the Aaron Hernandez doc, which was about murder—something that's actually serious and important. The Last Dance is about how a basketball team won a championship thanks to the greatest player on the earth. It doesn't require a hard-hitting journalistic angle.
Plus, the series doesn't exist without Jordan being a partner because he owned all the footage we've been treated to. I'm sure every viewer would sacrifice "good journalism" to get MJ to open his vault.
Anyway, can't wait until Sunday night at 9 p.m.
2. If you're into watching old games and you're a fan of Good Morning Football, there's a new show that will be right up your alley. (Sidenote: How dumb of an expression is "right up your alley?")
Anyway, Kyle Brandt and Peter Schrager are teaming up for Run It Back, where they'll watch a popular NFL game and provide commentary over it. They kicked things off with the 2003 Packers-Eagles NFC divisional playoff game and the famous fourth-and-26 play.
The portion of the show that covers Donovan McNabb's crazy completion to Freddie Mitchell begins at the 31:45 mark.
3. No one on sports television has had a more dramatic hair transformation during quarantine than Around the Horn host Tony Reali, who has now gone full Cosmo Kramer.
Side note: If you never heard Reali's raw and honest 2018 appearance on the SI Media Podcast, it's one of the best ever.
4. Reminder: ESPN's E:60 on Alex Smith's recovery from 16 surgeries over eight months after a gruesome leg injury airs tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET.
5. This week's SI Media Podcast features a conversation with the always entertaining and always insightful Chris Long.
The two-time Super Bowl champion turned podcaster discussed how long of a preseason NFL players would need before the start of the season, the Aaron Rodgers–Green Bay Packers relationship, The Last Dance, why he loves cold showers, when he'd attend a sporting event, and much more.
6. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: I've always enjoyed this bit by Bill Burr on his issues with restaurants.
7. SPORTS HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY: In 1983, Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett broke off a 99-yard touchdown run (and the Monday Night Football booth was fun). I wish sports networks would show more old-school games like this one.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.