by Chris Camello (@chris_camello)
CHICAGO, IL – The long-awaited, highly anticipated 10-part documentary series, “The Last Dance,” chronicling Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in their final season together in 1998 has certainly lived up to the hype.
It encompasses all aspects of Jordan’s life and career and the Bulls’ dynasty while appealing to all viewers. The older viewers become nostalgic about how the NBA was years ago and younger viewers get an education about one of the greatest players of all-time.
Perhaps the best part is viewers hear from the players and coaches themselves while getting an uncensored, behind-the scenes look at the intense practices and camaraderie in the locker room.
‘The Last Dance’ isn’t the first documentary sports series we have seen but it has certainly been one of the most entertaining. Maybe it’s because there are no other sports, but a better answer could be this series is part of an ongoing trend where athletes are setting up their own productions to tell their story, their way.
In recent years we have seen athletes set up their own podcasts and television shows to offer viewers an unfiltered, unedited, honest view about their lives and careers.
In 2018, LeBron James launched the HBO series, “The Shop: Uninterrupted,” along with business partner and friend Maverick Carter to talk about sports, politics, and business with other athletes and celebrities in a barber shop setting.
Soon after, Kevin Durant launched “The Boardroom” with agent Rick Klieman on ESPN-Plus, and in the past year former NBA pros Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson set up the “All The Smoke” Podcast.
These shows allow active or retired athletes to jump on and essentially control the narrative themselves, not through the media.
These shows, podcasts, and docuseries like ‘The Last Dance’ have had tremendous ratings and their popularity continues to rise because of the first-hand, unfiltered content from the players themselves.
There is no doubt that ‘The Last Dance’ blazes a trail for filmmakers to work with other athletic subjects to create captivating, entertaining, but most importantly honest content about their lives and careers.