“The Last Dance,” ESPN’s 10-part documentary series about the 1997-98 Bulls, brought out a very real side of Michael Jordan, the film’s director says.
Jordan also showed a great amount of self-awareness. He knew how his famed competitiveness and often nasty treatment of teammates in the pursuit of winning championships might play on the screen. That was part of the reason why, Jason Hehir says, Jordan was briefly reluctant to take part in the project.
‘LAST DANCE’: Release date, TV schedule for series
In an interview with The Athletic last week, Hehir quoted Jordan from their first meeting.
“‘When people see this footage I’m not sure they’re going to be able to understand why I was so intense, why I did the things I did, why I acted the way I acted, and why I said the things I said,'” Hehir told Richard Deitsch (subscription required).
MJ soon trusted Hehir enough to bring him inside his mind and explain exactly why in a series of intense interviews about his life and basketball career. Viewers will be taken there, too, beginning Sunday night. They’ll see Jordan working out the answer to a question about how he balanced winning with being thought of as a “horrible guy.”
“I was really interested in whether or not it hurt him that the perception of him was this stone-cold killer and not as Mr. Nice Guy,” Hehir told Deitsch. “The question produced probably a nine-minute answer. Was it worth to you to have that reputation for intensity and ferocity? Is it worth the tradeoff of not being considered nice guy quote unquote?”
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