“I am not so much interested in remembering what it was like to be a kid and cheer for Jordan as I am in new discoveries. What will it feel like to be able to see the reality behind idolization? What will it be like for me, now 35, to be a witness to the perfect and imperfect 35-year-old Jordan? Because even if imperfection didn’t cross my mind much then, watching this team and that player, it does now.”
Star Tribune writer Jeff Day

 

ESPN's long-awaited 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, the Last Dance, debuts at 8 p.m. Sunday.

The series focuses on the 1997-98 season, the last of the six seasons in the 1990s when Jordan led the Bulls to an NBA championship. It is based on hundreds of hours of never-before-seen video, much of it compiled by Andy Thompson, a former Gophers basketball player and the brother of Gophers great and NBA star Mychal Thompson.

 

“I find it just mind-boggling that we were able to pull this off in a time and era when teams weren't used to giving anybody access the way they gave us. I wonder how we did it.”
Andy Thompson, ESPN and former Gophers basketball player


As a guide to the series, here are three Star Tribune articles and a link to others that provide some context -- both for the greatness of the 1990s Chicago Bulls and the how the final season of their dynasty will play out more than 20 years later. TV critic Neal Justin reviews the series, NBA writer Chris Hines writes about Thompson and reporter Jeff Day writes an essay about what Jordan meant to him while growing up in the Midwest.

 

“By the end, you won’t want to be like Mike. But your awe of his superpowers will run even deeper. Something tells me Jordan will be just fine with that.”
Star Tribune TV writer Neal Justin