"The Last Dance," ESPN's 10-part documentary series about the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, is the greatest sports event of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sure, the footage is old. Michael Jordan has long been retired. And we all know how the season ends.
But reliving the drama of that epic season is breathtaking. And getting such an intimate, unfiltered look at Jordan is riveting. Many journalists and athletes live-tweeted the event, as though it were Game 7 of The NBA Finals.
It's all we have.
And it's just what we needed.
The first two episodes of the documentary featured so many gems.
At one point, Jordan, whose net worth is reportedly just shy of $2 billion, hysterically laughs as he watches a video of his mother reading a letter that he wrote her in college. Jordan asks for cash, saying he only has $20 left in his bank account, and for some postage stamps.
We also got to relive Larry Bird's famous line during the first round of the 1986 playoffs against the Boston Celtics: "That was God disguised as Michael Jordan." Bird said that after Jordan, who missed much of his second season with the Bulls because of a broken foot, exploded with 49 points in Game 1 and a postseason-record 63 points in Game 2.
Lakers' great Magic Johnson called Jordan, "the most talented player in the NBA, by far,” adding, "We knew the guy was coming. He just needed the right horses to go along with him.”
We learned about Jordan's work ethic and drive, which inspired countless others, such as Kobe Bryant.
When he was recovering from his broken foot, Jordan's doctor told him he had a 10 percent change of re-injuring his foot if he returned at the time. Bulls' owner Jerry Reinsdorf then chimed in, asking the doctor what would happen in that worst case scenario. The doctor responded that Jordan's career would be over.
Jordan liked those odds.
Reinsdorf tried to reframe things, asking Jordan if he had a terrible headache and was handed a pill bottle and told nine of the 10 pills would cure him but one pill would kill him, would he still take a pill?
Responded Jordan: "Depends how f---ing bad the headache is."
There were so many other great moments, such as when Laker great James Worthy, who played with Jordan at the University of North Carolina, said he was better than Jordan “for about two weeks.”
Or when Scottie Pippen, who was grossly underpaid by the Bulls, revealed he opted to have foot surgery just before the 1997 season because he wanted to enjoy his offseason.
"I'm not gonna f--- my summer up trying to rehab for a season, you know?" Pippen said.
All in all, it was a fun and raw portrayal of one of the greatest teams of all time. The Bulls won six championships in eight seasons and greatly altered the NBA landscape.
At a time with no sports, it was curative for fans.
There was basketball. There was drama.
And considering there's eight episodes left, there's suspense.
We all know the Bulls win the championship, but now we get to see what really went on behind closed doors.