Whether a basketball fan or not, many of us were fascinated by one of Netflix’s flagship spring releases.
The Last Dance told the story of the life and times of Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls legend who returned from retirement to help his franchise to an extraordinary sixth NBA Championship in 1998.
There’s some great sporting action and laughter and pathos in equal measure, and with some larger than life characters – they don’t come much larger than Dennis Rodman – The Last Dance has netted more than 23 million viewers worldwide.
If you want to read more about the chief protagonists before or after watching the doc, they all have books out that have been written by them or for them.
There are tons of biographies about MJ available, and arguably the pick of the bunch is Michael Jordan: The Life written by Roland Lazenby. The author doesn’t sugar coat the wild personality traits of the legend, who at the height of his career was a happy-go-lucky family man one minute and a disciplined, ruthless, almost cold individual the next.
The titles of the two most prominent books about the life and times of Dennis Rodman speak for themselves – ‘Bad As I Wanna Be’ and ‘I Should Be Dead By Now’ reflect the escapades of basketball’s original rock‘n roll star, who when not dating Madonna and frequenting Las Vegas casinos was also one of the best rebounders in NBA history.
A more docile – but no less interesting – tome comes from Phil Jackson, the head coach who was at the helm of some of the Bulls’ finest moments. He touched upon everything from Native American philosophies to Zen meditation while coaching, and this intriguing individual brings together his life’s work in a fascinating read that transcends basketball.
A Life Less Ordinary
From the University of North Carolina to six NBA Finals rings – the story of Michael Jordan features some extraordinary twists and turns.
To offer a flavor of what MJ and his teammates achieved with the Chicago Bulls, their star has fallen so rapidly that they don’t even feature in the 2019-20 NBA betting odds – as the season resumed, they couldn’t even mathematically qualify for the play-offs.
Three Emmy nominations for The Last Dance 👏 pic.twitter.com/8I9Q4V3Me8
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) July 28, 2020
It’s not a spoiler to point out that Jordan is one of – if not the single – best player of all-time, and his success went beyond the court. He is one of the richest sportsmen on the planet and became the first billionaire from the NBA, thanks in part to his famous Nike Air Jordan range and appearances in curiously popular movies like Space Jam.
Like all stories, there’s sadness to go with the good times. Michael’s father James was murdered in a carjacking, and MJ was so distraught he temporarily retired from basketball as he spent time away to reconcile his feelings.
But, to the joy of everyone, Jordan worked through his grief and returned to the court two years later, and the rest – as they say – is history.
The Last Dance is an outstanding body of work, and there are plenty of literary accompaniments as soon as you have binged the ten available episodes.