“The Last Dance” has come to a close at long last.
Here’s a look at the best quotes from the final two episodes of Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls documentary.
Notable interview subjects: Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller, Larry Bird, Jalen Rose, Bill Wennington, John Stockton, Bill Cartwright, David Aldridge, J.A. Adande, Deloris Jordan (Michael’s mother), Steve Kerr, Ahmad Rashad.
Quote of the Episode: “Don’t ever talk trash to black Jesus.” – Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller learned the hard way what happens when you trash talk Michael Jordan and unfortunately for Utah Jazz fans, so did Bryon Russell.
Describing his first interaction with a young Russell while he was off playing baseball, Jordan wasn’t particularly impressed by Russell’s bravado.
“This kid Byron Russell comes up to me and says ‘Man, why’d you quit? Why’d you quit? You knew I could guard your ass. You had to quit.’ I said, ‘Karl [Malone] you need to talk to this dude man.’”
Jordan torched Russell in both the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals, culminating with his famous “last shot” over him. Jordan’s other signature performances that came at the expense of Russell and the Jazz was his game-winning buzzer beater in Game 1 of the 1997 Finals and the “Flu Game” in Game 5 in 1997.
“It really wasn’t the flu game, it was food poisoning,” Jordan saidin the documentary as a late-night pizza delivery was revealed as the real reason he was under the weather for that game.
In the contest, Jordan played through sickness to the tune of 44 minutes, 38 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. Running on fumes, he scored 15 of Chicago’s 23 points in the fourth quarter and drained a three-pointer in the last minute to seal the win for the Bulls after grabbing an offensive rebound on his own free-throw miss.
“No matter how sick he was, he was still the best player in the world” Scottie Pippen said of that famous affair.
Bonus quote: “During the national anthem I would think about my dad, that he would love this right now. He wouldn’t even believe it, but he would love this.” – Steve Kerr on his late father Malcolm, who was killed while he was in college and never got to see him play in the NBA.
Notable interview subjects: David Aldridge, Steve Kerr, Jeffrey, Marcus and Jasmine Jordan (Michael’s children), John Stockton, Michael Jordan, Bob Costas, Willow Bay, Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Jerry Reinsdorf, David Stern, Barack Obama.
Quote of the episode: “It’s maddening because I think we could’ve won seven. I really believe that. We may not have, but man, to not be able to try, that’s something that I just can’t accept. For whatever reason I just can’t accept it.” – Michael Jordan
Jordan had a point. He was still among the game’s most dominant forces and even if the Bulls didn’t win a seventh championship, they would have been better off running it back then what the alternative became. The only players to win seven NBA titles with one team are members of the 1950-1960 Boston Celtics.
The 1999 season was shortened to just 50 games because of the lockout shortened year, so even at an advanced age it stands to reason the Bulls could make at least one more run.
From 1990-1998 under Phil Jackson they won 74.6 per cent of their games, 26 playoff series and had no lottery picks. Since then they’ve won 44.8 per cent of their games, five playoff series, had 13 lottery picks and 10 different coaches and likely will be welcoming an 11th head coach this off-season.
Jordan in his prime kept Hall-of-Famers like Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Reggie Miller, Dikembe Mutombo, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, John Stockton and Karl Malone all without a championship as he and his Bulls went 6-0 in NBA Finals.
This still remains one of sports’ ultimate “what ifs.”
Bonus quote: Everybody says I pushed off. [Expletive]. His energy was going that way. I didn’t have to push him that way” – Michael Jordan on his legendary Finals game winner over Bryon Russell.