The Last Dance (2020): Season 1, Episode 6 - Episode VI - full transcript

A revealing book and scrutiny of his gambling put a dent in Michael's reputation, but he remains focused on winning a third straight title in 1993.

[man 1] Here we go. Quiet!

- Roll sound!
- [man 2] Rolling.

[man 3] Two.

It's funny, a lot of people say
they'd like to be Michael Jordan

for a day or for a week,

but let them try to be Michael Jordan
for a year, see if they like it.

[producer] Let's get one more.

- [man 2] Rolling.
- [man 3] Two.

It's funny, a lot of people told me
they'd like to be Michael Jordan

for a day or for a week,

but I don't think you can see
the true Michael Jordan for just a day.

[indistinct chatter]

[man 2] Rolling.


It's funny, a lot of people say
they'd like to try to be Michael Jordan

for a day or for a week,

but I don't think
they quite understand it's no fun.

[man 4] Good. Okay.

[indistinct chatter]

[talking indistinctly]

All right, well,
I just wanted to touch base...

This is it. Lay back, watch TV all day.

It was peaceful until you guys
come up in here.

I don't have to worry about
anybody bothering me.

I think what people don't realize

is that from the moment
Michael Jordan leaves his hotel room,

the spotlight is on him.

[elevator bell dings]


[Hallam] Everybody in the world
wanted to see him, talk to him.


They all wanted a piece of him
in some way or another.

He was under pressure to be "on"
all the time with people.

Could I get a picture with you and my son?

Skipping nursery school, huh?


[Hallam] Given his hectic schedule,

before a game, he would sit down
for five minutes, ten minutes,

with a terminally ill child...

- You ain't got a birthday, do you?
- No.

[Hallam] He made the kids feel like
they knew Michael Jordan.


[Hallam] On top of all that,
he had to perform.

[commentator] Jordan! The double-clutch
reverse layup. Michael Jordan!

[Hallam] He knew that everybody,
for every game, was there to see him.

After the game, he has ten minutes
in the locker room to cool off,

and then a room full of media.

[reporter 1] How do you deal
with all the attention?

[reporter 2] How will you
entertain us tonight?

[Hallam] Even when he's done
with the interviews,

you still had the hanger-on people
that would come up to him.

It was like a flock of bees around honey,
trailing him down the hallway.

Listen, everybody! Can we move this way,
spread out a little?

I swear he ain't gonna run away.

Then you get back to the hotel,
another large group of people.

[people clamoring]

[Hallam] I wouldn't want to be like Mike.
It's an impossible task.

Yeah, this is not...

one of those lifestyles that you envy,

where you can't...
You're confined to this room.

I'm ready for getting out of this life.

You know when you get to that point.

I'm there. And with no reservations
at all. I'm there.

[commentator 1] A spectacular move!

[commentator 2] The game's over!

[commentator 3]
Chicago Stadium is going wild!

[Jackson] First of all,
there's no backstabbing going on here.

It's time for me to move on.

[Krause] This will be Phil's last year
as coach of the Bulls.

- [man 1] Are the expectations too high?
- [man 2] Where do we go from here?

[woman] The only question: how long can it last?

[indistinct chatter]

[commentator] Wayne, Kovalev and Gretzky.
And the...

[man] That's still not...

Don't show the money.

How much you want?

Wait, I gotta learn.

I need another quarter.

You only need one. Shit.

- That didn't look good.
- [guard 1] Not that one.

They get all the tries
till they get one close.

- I get three or two tries to beat 'em.
- This is the last one. I mean it.

- [guard 2] Oh, all right, how many tries?
- I get three tries.

[guard 2] That's too far.
Two tries on that one, MJ.

[guard 1] Two tries.

- [guard 2] Look at how far that is.
- Okay, Jerry Krause.

- Negotiate with somebody else.
- [all laughing]

- Will you get out the way?
- [guard 2] Come on!


- [Jordan] That's in.
- [both guards] No.

[guard 2] Nope! No!

- [guard 1] Get our money!
- [Jordan] No!

- [guard 1] Get our money, Travis.
- All right.

[Perdue] Michael was competitive
at everything,

whether it was on the golf course
or playing cards, whatever it was.

I mean,
his life was just one big competition.

Scottie, Michael...

Ron Harper.

These guys would play cards
in the back of the plane for major money.

I'm talking thousands of dollars.

This is my way
of giving some of my money back.

[woman] Does it hurt?

And me, John Paxson, B.J. Armstrong,

we would play blackjack in the front
of the plane for a dollar a hand.

He knows that we would never
play with him in the back

'cause it's too much money.

But he would come to the front,
"What are you guys doing?

You mind if I play?"

I remember John Paxson
looking at him and going,

"Why in the hell
do you want to play with us?

We're playing for a dollar a hand."

I remember he looked at him, "Because I
wanna say I got your money in my pocket."

I'll give y'all four tries
to beat my one toss.

- One toss?
- Yeah.

- In four tries?
- Yeah.

- Yeah, I take it.
- Okay.

Put your money up first.
Without seeing it.

- How much? $20?
- Yup.

- [guard 2] You can beat that.
- In four tries. Come back here.

[guard 2 laughing]


- [guard 2] Give him his...
- Hey, Gus, CT.

[guard 2 laughing]

Hey, man, your stuff rolls.
He's out here, it just rolls up there.

[guard 1] Watch this roll
right into my pocket.

- I got good at this.
- [Jordan] Y'all get out of here.

Go protect the damn United Center.

Security! Come get security outta here!

Arrest you.

Hey, Mike. Hey, Scottie.

- Okay, my brother.
- This guy's funny.

- I'm sure you have full season tickets.
- You guys know the money man here?

Yeah, we know him.

We knew him well.

We used to see him in the playoffs.
We don't know about this year.

[commentator 1] Welcome to another edition
of Bulls basketball.

The Bulls remain just one game away

from securing home-floor advantage
in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

They could do it with a win tonight.

[commentator 2] Pippen gets the screen
from Wennington...

Rodman goes backdoor,
Jordan at the baseline.

Boy, Michael versus Orlando
is a mismatch so far tonight.

Jordan ahead of Pippen. And the jam!

Bo Outlaw back quickly.
Kerr tees up a three! Ring it up!

Thirty-seven for Jordan.
I think that's the dagger.

And this one is history.

Chicago Bulls, with an 87-78 victory
over the Orlando Magic,

win their 60th game of the season.

[indistinct chatter]

Sixty wins.

[Jordan] After a hard day,

I would take grape Gatorade, but...

I don't think so.

That's all we be thinking about
in the fourth quarter.

- [man] Icy, icy beer.
- Cold beer.

I don't know why y'all filming.

We don't want y'all filming us
drinking no beer.

[Harper] I don't care what you film.

Hey, if they go back...
go back ten years ago,

you'd see half the brothers
drinking a case.

At halftime!

When I first joined the team,

they was drinking beers
at half and smoking cigarettes.

And you know what?

Shit, they was getting the cigarettes
from the coaches. [laughs]

Yo, Stan, can I borrow a cigarette?


- [man 1] Your drinking problem...
- [man 2] Don't tell 'em that.

- [Jordan] I gotta do the press.
- [man 2] Have to do it?

- I'm going out the other way.
- All right.

[Jordan] How you doing?

[man 2] Man, you tripping?

[reporter] So you coming back
next year, Michael?

[both chuckle]

[announcer] Ladies and gentlemen,
your world champion Chicago Bulls!

Once again, I wanna say thanks.

It's been eight years,
going into my ninth year.

We got two championships,
and hopefully we got a lot left.

Hopefully we can bring more
championships to Chicago. Thanks!

[crowd cheering]


[reporter] You don't have to be a sports
fan to know that this man is beyond human.

At age 30, Jordan has led
the Chicago Bulls to NBA championships,

the Dream Team to an Olympic gold medal,
and most importantly,

he's given America, and the world,
a sorely needed hero.

A Jordan sighting sparks a frenzy.

- His touch, a burst of tears.
- You're good.

[reporter] And being Mike means being
the most popular human on the planet.

Michael Jordan had become such a huge

cultural figure in the early '90s.

He was so widely celebrated,

inevitably there's going to be someone

who's going to
start trying to find some dirt.

I guess one of the things
that started problems

was Sam Smith's book, Jordan Rules.

[Smith] I'd been an investigative reporter
when I started my journalism career.

I wasn't a typical sports reporter
coming in.

I was interested in what happened
behind the scenes.

Every time I look up, you've been on TV.
You must be carrying one with you now.

'Cause everybody always said,
"Pull the curtain back.

What really goes on in the locker room?"

[Jordan] When you do books like that,
you gotta have controversial things,

you gotta have things that are, you know,
people would not suspect or know.

[reporter] The Sun-Times reports the book
details conflicts within the team.

The book outlines
alleged turmoil on the club

during its run for the title last season.

It alleges Jordan was kind of
a tough guy with some of his teammates.

Everybody got tired of seeing
the McDonald's and the Cokes

and all the other stuff.

They really wanted to see something
other than something positive.

I was shocked when it exploded
like it did.

But the book is popular because it made it
public that Michael Jordan is not perfect.

Not everybody loves him.

He wasn't particularly beloved
by his teammates.

[woman] Michael told teammates

not to pass the ball to a certain player
during crunch time.

[man 1] Threatening the others,
saying, if they did it,

they would never
get the ball from him again.

[man 2] Jordan also allegedly punched
Will Perdue during a practice session.

Everybody loved Michael around the world.

But after Sam Smith's book, Jordan Rules,

there was a certain backlash
and some of the brightness had come off.

People saw a side
that we didn't see before.

[man] Concerning team GM Jerry Krause,
Jordan says,

"This thing isn't over.
I'm going to get that guy fired."

[Jackson] Jerry invited me
to come to his room,

and he had earmarked
about 25 different quotations in the book.

He wanted me to sit and listen to them
while he read them.

And that started with, "Who do you think
could do this? Were you part of this?"

[man] While the early reports have brought
a flurry of denials,

players giving out sensitive information
to the press

is one surefire way
to cause a division within the team.

I didn't contribute to that.
That was Horace.

He was telling everything
that was happening within the group.

[Perdue] As we started
winning championships,

and everybody talked about Michael,
and talked about "everybody else,"

I mean, that really pissed off Horace.

He felt slighted.
He was in Michael's shadow.

No. Not one thing have I ever
divulged to Sam Smith

about my relationship
with my former teammates.

A lot of people, because Sam and I
have a great relationship,

used me as a scapegoat, and... so be it.

It couldn't have just been Horace.

Had to be coming from
a number of different places.

It could've been the coaches,

it could've been the owners,
it could've been management.

[Jackson] We have a star
for five or six years,

and then, pretty soon,
people start chipping away

at the pedestal of that star or that hero

and try to knock him off the block.

If I'm going to be knocked off
this pedestal,

I'm going to make sure I do something
to be knocked off.

I'm not going to let someone else
knock me off for no apparent reason

or comments that I didn't say.

[man] While some of
Michael Jordan's teammates

view the book as "a bunch of bull,"

Smith says it may have a positive effect
down the road on the world champions.

[Smith] I think Phil will use this book
to say,

"Here, this is out there.
They're trying to divide us apart."

In a lot of ways,
it'll bring the team together.

I was under siege when the book came out.
Everyone turned on me,

to the point where
I was getting a lot of threats

and the newspaper had me stay home
for a week, told me not to come.

The Jordan Rules took a big toll on him
off the court.

But on the court, he was still
the most dominant figure in the game

on the most dominant team.

["Hip Hop Hooray" playing]

[commentator 1] And Horace with the slam!

[commentator 2] Jordan intercepts.
What a play!

They're tearing them apart.

[commentator 3] Fourteen.
Jordan past Petrovic.

[commentator 3 exclaims]

[commentator 4] Michael blocked him...
...denied by Horace...

...three on two. To Jordan. And a foul...

Oh, he scored! Yes!

Michael in control, feeds Horace Grant.

[commentator 5] Michael on the line.

[commentator 6] No fouling here.
From mid-court, a 50-footer to go...

Michael Jordan!

A lot of the people in...

that era that you would consider
Michael's peers had won two in a row.

Isiah won two straight.
Magic had won two straight.

But none of them won three in a row.

A third championship was the separator.

You win three, you're on Mount Rushmore.

So, for that team, it was all about
winning a third straight.

Who was their biggest obstacle?

Without question,
it was this incredibly... tough,

motivated and well-coached Knicks team.

In the early '90s, the Knicks replaced
the Bad Boy Pistons

as the team that Chicagoans
hated the most.

It was very intense 'cause I know
how bad they wanted to beat us.

Both clubs going at each other.

Michael Jordan and Xavier McDaniel
having words.

Double technicals were called
on McDaniel and Jordan.

They were on the come up.
They were trying to be...

the next Chicago Bulls
as we were to the Detroit Pistons.

[Jordan] Mentally,
they were a hard-working team,

but I firmly believe that...
when we were playing at our best

and they're playing at their best,
we're a better team.

Patrick Ewing was the biggest focus
for us, offensively.

We hated each other.

It was extremely physical.

It wasn't really a foul
till you drew blood.

[Riley] When I was coaching the Knicks,

I told the team,
"You can't let him dunk on you!"

[man] Hello!

[Riley] You gotta knock him down.

If we don't meet him at the rim,
he's gonna embarrass you.

[commentator] ...ball that he followed up.
Jordan with the recovery. Jordan!

[Jordan exclaiming]

Only way we can beat this guy,

we had to hit him,

let him know that
you just can't fly to the rim.

[Adande] The battle lines
were drawn between them.

And then, 1993 playoffs, they're playing
the Knicks in the Conference Finals.

[commentator] It has come down to this: game one

of the eagerly anticipated best-of-seven
Eastern Conference Final.

Patrick Ewing and his New York Knicks

facing Michael Jordan
and the Chicago Bulls.

We got tested in that playoffs
by the Knicks.

The Knicks had that same defense that
we'd just had to overcome versus Detroit.

They were gonna be physical,

they were gonna come up
body-to-body all the time.

Things beginning to get a bit rough.

That was a tremendous battle.

[crowd cheering]

The basket counts and the foul!

So the Knicks defeat the Bulls in game one
of this best-of-seven.

[announcer] Jordan knows that
all eyes are on him tonight

as the Bulls go for the needed split in
New York in the Eastern Conference Finals.

After shooting 3-for-13
in the second half Sunday,

Jordan needs to light it up in game two.

[commentator] And Jordan... Just ran...

He is walloped by Anthony!

Now the Bulls are very upset.

[Jackson] In the second game
in the series,

they were stepping things up,
really physical.

[commentator] Ewing! And...

Look out! Cartwright submarines.

Starks! Yes!

[crowd cheering]

What a move by Starks,
who was able to sky to the basket!

[woman] In sports, the Chicago Bulls
are down two games to none

in their playoff series
with the New York Knicks.

Some are suggesting that superstar
Michael Jordan may have dropped the ball.

[man] In the last quarter against
the Knicks Tuesday night,

Michael Jordan looked tired.

Was he worn down by the Knicks' defense
in a grueling physical game

or was he worn down

by a visit to this Atlantic City hotel
on the eve of the game?

The New York Times said today

Jordan was seen in the hotel's casino
as late as 2:30 in the morning.

My father said,
"Let's get away from New York City.

Let's you and I go to Atlantic City."

We got a limo, we went and gambled
for a couple of hours. We came back.

Everybody went totally ballistic.
"Hey, he was in a casino last night."

I wasn't late.
We got home by 12:30, one o'clock.

The reason I was there was more or less
to get away from New York,

hear about all the losing,
you know, the game situation.

I went out to get my mind away
from basketball.

I couldn't go play golf,

so I rode up there
with my family and friends.

[man] Jordan's hours
triggered harsh headlines

and dominated the sports talk shows.

What it shows me is a lack of commitment

to what is the goal right now,
and that is a third championship.

[man] Jordan had violated no team rules,
no league rules, no state laws.

All he violated
were people's expectations.

[Jackson] I addressed the
Atlantic City thing, and he was like,

"Going down to Atlantic City in the
afternoon and getting back at midnight?

That's not gonna affect my basketball.

It's gonna take my mind away

from this pressure
we have building up in the playoffs."

[interviewer] Why was the trip
to Atlantic City such a big deal?

Okay, the backstory is this.

So, the Bulls win in '91.
They win the championship.

You go to the White House
when you win the championship.

Ready. Get set...

[Aldridge] Except Jordan didn't show.

He said, "Time with family. I gotta be..."

No, he was out gambling with Slim Bouler.

[Kremer] Slim Bouler was a golf hustler

and back in December of 1991,

he was brought up on drug
and money laundering charges.

And federal agents found a check
made out from Michael Jordan

to Slim Bouler for $57,000.

Jordan initially said,
"That was just a loan I made him."

But Michael was a witness in this case
involving Slim Bouler,

and Michael admitted
that he was repaying a gambling debt.

[man] "What was the money for?"
asked Bouler's attorney.

Answer: "It was what I lost gambling.
It was never a loan.

I said it was a loan strictly to save
the embarrassment and pain."

[Aldridge] So, when Michael spends
all night gambling in Atlantic City,

after they lost game one,
it became a very public issue

in terms of, "Is this signs of
some kind of a problem with him?"

And then you add to that
the Esquinas book,

which came out in the midst
of that Atlantic City fiasco.

[news anchor] In a book titled
Michael and Me: Our Gambling Addiction,

Richard Esquinas,
a onetime general manager

of the San Diego Sports Arena,

makes the claim that Michael Jordan
owed him more than $1.2 million,

a result of gambling
on their golf matches.

[Jordan] Yeah, Richard Esquinas...
We met from a third party.

I'm actually playing golf with people
all the time now.

If they wanna gamble, we gamble.

The character of those individuals,

I found out later what kind of people
I was playing with.

I learned that lesson.

But the act of gambling,
I didn't do anything wrong.

And it right away went right to the most
deepest, darkest kind of side of it.

Is he throwing games?

[interviewer] Has it gone beyond golf?

Never has. Never has.

Michael and I were competitive
and gambling on the golf course.

We play cards.

I was in many of the card games,
but never anything else.

I never bet on games, I only bet
on myself and that was golf.

Do I like to play blackjack?
Yeah, I like playing blackjack.

There's no laws with that.

And the league did call me
and they asked questions about it,

and I told them
exactly what was happening.

[Stern] Michael was betting
on his golf game.

Larger numbers than you or I might bet
if we played golf together.

But, you know,
given Michael's earnings and the like,

we just never... It never reached
epic crisis levels in my view.

[Aldridge] I understand that people

would see and hear about
amounts of money like that

and go, "Wow! That's a lot of money."

What I used to always say
to people is that,

for Michael Jordan,
$10,000 is like you gambling $10.

He's got it. He's good for it.
You don't have to worry about it.

The thought has occurred

that you aren't really gambling
with money,

you're gambling with your reputation.

Gambling with your good name.

What would they consider my good name?
The purest of all pure?

The person that doesn't make mistakes?

It wasn't all part of this
carefully cultivated image

that he had had of being
the best basketball player in the world

that everyone wanted to be like.

Do you think you have
a gambling problem at all?

No. Because I can stop gambling.

I have a competition problem.

A competitive problem.

It didn't affect his endorsements.
It didn't affect him monetarily.

It didn't really affect his popularity.

But the damage was to his reputation.

And the price to pay
was how tedious this all became

for Michael to have to
answer these questions.

[indistinct chatter]

[man 1] Were you playing
$1,000-a-hole golf down there?

- Is that what was going on?
- [man 2] Is this an addiction?

When you're answering these questions
over and over again,

and feeling you have to defend yourself,
it's exhausting.

Get 'em off the floor. It's one o'clock.

[man] Let's start it up.

[Aldridge] He was really starting
to grate against the media onslaught.

Michael becomes irate
and refuses to talk to the media.

The curtain of silence
started to come down.

[Kremer] He wanted no part of it.

Let someone like his dad
have to answer these questions for him.

I stopped talking.
My father said, "Let me handle this."

I said, "Dad, you don't have to."
He said, "Nah." He wanted to.

He has given the best of him.

He has sacrificed
to try to satisfy everybody.

And after doing all of that,
people still find a way of knocking him.

And he's saying,
"Damn, how much is enough?"

[Aldridge] Around that time,
I remember Magic Johnson saying,

"You guys are gonna drive him
out of this game

if you keep this up,
'cause he's tired of it.

He's tired of you guys picking on him."

[Rashad] People build you up
to tear you down.

It happens in sports all the time.

If a team wins too much,
you want 'em to lose.

The public has an appetite for
these kind of rise-and-fall narratives.

[woman] Let's go, baby! Let's go!

[Jackson] I think he was disgusted
with what happened,

and Michael had to respond.

And respond he did.

[commentator 1]
Here's Jordan for the fadeaway.

Jordan off the hesitation dribble!

Look out! Starks went
barreling into Pippen.

And Starks in the face of Pippen
who just looks to walk away.

Look out. They're pushing and shoving.

And they continue on!
Jordan wants a go at him!

[commentator 2] The team rally
in the support of Michael Jordan.

He is so upset
with the criticism he received

for his journey down to Atlantic City.

[commentator 1]
A convincing Chicago Bulls victory.

Michael could make things up
to motivate himself.

He didn't have to make anything up.
This was real.

This was the media scolding you.

And he says, "I'll show you." And he did.

[commentator] A standing ovation
for the Chicago Bulls.

Fifty-four points for Michael Jordan.

[Aldridge] Game five. The series is tied.

The Bulls are up one
with 20 seconds left,

and there's poor Charles Smith trying
his best to get the ball into the basket.

[commentator] Ewing for Smith! Smith!

Smith! Smith... stopped!
Smith stopped again by Pippen!

What a play by Scottie Pippen!

[Aldridge] Jordan and Pippen and Grant

simply refusing to let the ball
go in the basket. Wouldn't allow it.

It's one of the great defensive sequences
of all time.

[commentator] The Bulls
have defeated the Knicks!

That's the series. They close it out
in Chicago the next game.

[commentator] There it is!
Chicago going on to the NBA Finals.

Chicago will attempt to three-peat,

trying to be become only the third team
in NBA history to pull off three in a row.

Did you feel all that negative publicity
about Michael going to Atlantic City

really pulled you guys together?

Yeah, we take that personally.

We're a team,
we've been a team a long time,

and when you attack one of ours,
we gotta bond together.

It's the only thing we have,
and it showed on the floor.

- 11:45.
- What is it?

- Eleven... Oh, I'm sorry. 1:45.
- [Jordan] Let's go, Phil!

Ten minutes over!

- Let's go. Where you going?
- I'm ready.

- Let's go. Come on.
- You hear that?

- Nah, come on. Y'all miss out on this.
- How's it going?

- Now that's entertainment. [chuckles]
- [Jordan] 1:45.

Let's go!

[Pippen] He's got a tee time at 3:30.

[man 1] Scottie,
can I talk to you for a sec?

Nah, man, we done. We outta here.
Let's go, Pip. Come on.

- Just till Phil comes by.
- [Jordan] Nah.

- [man 1] Michael!
- [man 2] Come on!

[Jordan] He's healthy,
he'll be playing tomorrow.

[Pippen] He's got a tee time!


Scottie, how're you feeling?
Everything all right?

Yeah, I'm feeling good,
just a little sore.

[bus honking]

[all laughing]

[man 2] Is there... Is there any chance
Mike has got a tee time?


Come on, get on here, Bill.
Hey, give me 20 cents.

[man 3] He must be ready to go.
Driver's getting mad at you.

Y'all gotta pay a fare to get on this bus.
Let's go. Get out the way!

- [man 4] You know how to put it in gear?
- [Jordan] Yeah, watch this.

[man 4] Oh, no.

- Get back.
- [man 5] We got it.

Let's go.

[man 5] What?

You going to the swimming pool, guys?

No, I'm going to Hooters.

Watch some tits and ass. The shit!

[Jordan] Let's go, man.

[Harper] Don't leave that spot. Hold on!

[Jordan] Come on, Ron Harper!

[Harper] Don't y'all be trying
to run out of here!

Come on, Ron. You taking all day.

Throw the clubs up here
and come sit next to me.

You all right, though?


All right, thanks!

- Fore!
- [man 1] Fore!

- [man 2] Fore!
- [man 3] Fore.

That's way past 'em.

[man 1] Choong. Right off their cart.

[Jordan] I said, "Fore."
They don't listen.

Get your ass in there!

- [man 1] You hit that...
- Garbage!

Shit, I can't get my drive together.


I can't read the green.

[man 4] Didn't even hesitate.
Right off the bat. Get that shit!

We broke even on a little side bet.
A hundred. 200.

[man 5] For what?
That wasn't a do/don't one.

- Shit!
- You said 100. You didn't say do/don't.

I said par-birdie.
What do you think that is?

Okay. You right.

But I win $20 on that hole anyway.

No. I win $40 on that hole.

That's good about Phil.
Phil knows we need a break.

Young coaches,
it would probably be a practice day today.

And you would have some mean guys.

[indistinct chatter]

[man] As Michael Jordan and the Bulls
get ready to take on the Suns in Phoenix,

they're knocking on the door
of the pantheon of the greats.

Winning three straight NBA titles
would put Jordan and his teammates

in the company
of the great dynasties of the past.

[Costas] Hi, everybody. I'm Bob Costas.
Welcome to the NBA Finals.

The news is that Michael Jordan has broken
his two-week media silence.

About an hour and a half before
the game began,

he was willing to talk specifically
to Ahmad Rashad.

[Rashad] Before game one,
Mike goes, "Hey, man,

can you go get a camera?
I wanna do this interview.

They've been talking about my gambling.
I'm sick of all this stuff.

Let's just get it done right now."
I went, "Okay."

- Do you have a gambling problem?
- No, I enjoy it. It's a hobby.

If I had a problem, I'd be starving.

I'd be hocking this watch,
my championship rings. I would...

sell my house, I would do this.

My wife would've left me

or she'd be starving
or my kids would be...

I do not have a problem. I enjoy gambling.

It didn't help that Michael had sunglasses
on when he was doing the interview.

[chuckling] Which I was...
"Man, take them sunglasses off."

The media has taken it
far greater than what it is.

Soon, whenever I walk away from this game,

I think that's the only thing
that people are gonna say

was a bad thing about Michael Jordan.

Could soon be after this year?

Could be.

In Phoenix, we had a great year.

We had the best record in the league.

And Charles was the MVP that year.

I felt very confident
going into that series.

We were very determined because,
if there's anybody you wanna beat,

it's Michael Jordan.

[commentator] Barkley behind the back!
Barkley for Majerle for the reverse.

Kevin Johnson.

Dumas puts it down!

Handle the goddamn pressure!

[Jordan] I was a little bit upset

that I didn't get the MVP that year.
They gave it to Charles Barkley.

But with that said, "Okay, fine.
You can have that. I'm gonna get this."

[commentator 1] Jordan with the steal!
And Jordan goes all the way!

Beautiful finish by Michael!

[commentator 2] The Purple Heart award
goes to Dan Majerle

who has to guard Michael Jordan.

[Jordan] I knew that Jerry Krause
loved Dan Majerle.

And just because Krause liked him
was enough for me.

"You think he's a great defensive player?
Okay, fine.

I'mma show you that he's not."

[commentator] Jordan spins away
on Majerle.

He'll take it all the way to the basket
and drops it in!

I put it in my mindset
that if I don't do this,

then they're gonna consider him
on the same level as me.

And that motivated me to attack.

[commentator] Jordan off the dribble!

So, the Chicago Bulls take game one.

They led by as many as 22.
And they win it 100 to 92.

Game one of the series could be summed up
in a word: nerves.

The Bulls show that experience does pay.
The Suns' lack of it cost 'em.

[Barkley] We lost game one
because we were so nervous.

But in game two,
I played as well as I could play.

[commentator] Barkley from the outside!

Barkley! Barkley! Barkley...

And Michael just outplayed me.

[commentator 1] Jordan... Yes.

Jordan. Jordan.

[commentator 2] The Suns looking down
a real dark road right now.

That was probably
the first time in my life

that I felt there was a better
basketball player in the world than me,

to be honest with you.

[commentator] So the final score: the Bulls 111, the Suns 108.

[Jackson] We had won two games in Phoenix,

and we came back to Chicago and, like,
"Let's finish this out."

[commentator] Jordan. With room.
For three! Yes!

[man] Michael is not beating us!

Don't let him catch. Double him.
Make somebody else win the game.

[commentator] Barkley setting
for the three. And he hits it!

It was, like...

one of the most roller-coaster series
I've ever been in.

Game three went into triple overtime.

[commentator] We head off
to a third overtime.

Not to brag on myself,
I was not going to let us lose.

[commentator] Johnson came up
with a steal,

and Barkley able to finish it off.

Barkley on the intercept!

Charles Barkley with the interception
and the field goal.

The Phoenix Suns in triple overtime

have defeated the Chicago Bulls 129-121

to battle their way back into this series.

[Costas] After Sunday night's epic,

there's a feeling that the Phoenix Suns
are here as foes, not foils.

That they made it a series again.

And now it's the Bulls' turn
to respond to a challenge.

[commentator] Jordan... Yes.

Jordan around Dumas. Yes! And it counts.

Jordan and Ainge trash-talking.

Ainge with his hands on Jordan.

Jordan just told him,
"Get your hands off me."

Bulls with a two-point lead.

[whistle blows]

Jordan... Yes! And it counts!

So, the Chicago Bulls have taken
a three games to one lead,

led by Michael Jordan who had 55 points.

Don't take it personally, Charles!

Before game five, they already
started celebrations in Chicago.

[Barkley] They were boarding up windows.

They want you to celebrate with class
and don't destroy stuff.

By the time you get to the game,
you're steaming, to be honest.

We're like,
"Guys, we cannot lose this game."

[commentator 1] Jordan's pass broken up.

Johnson for Barkley. Armstrong back.

And Charles Barkley extends
to a 27-15 lead.

Jordan... Stopped from behind.

Dumas got a piece of it.
And Dumas will finish it off.

[crowd booing]

Michael Jordan upset.

[commentator 2] I tell you,
the Phoenix Suns are playing better.

They're hotter, they're playing better
than the Chicago Bulls,

and the Bulls are in trouble.

[commentator 1] That will do it.

The Phoenix Suns, leading most of the way,
remain alive in this best-of-seven

but this series goes back to Phoenix.

[reporter] Charles, a final message
to the people of Chicago as you head back?

Take that shit off the windows.

[crowd laughing]

You don't need it tonight.

[Jackson] We lost game five,

so we have to fly out to Phoenix
and play this game number six.

Michael got on the plane. He had a cigar.

Then he said
he wanted to speak to the team.

Everybody is dreading getting back on
the plane and going back to Phoenix.

So I just say, "Look, man,
I don't know about you guys.

I'm only packing one suit.

We're going back to win one game.
I'm not going there to play two games."

[commentator 1] Michael Jordan
on a pull-up. Yes.

Jordan for three.

And Michael Jordan has tied the game.

Jordan hits another three!

Michael had that ability
where he was not going to let them lose.

[commentator 1] Just under one minute
remaining in this fourth quarter.

Suns lead 98 to 94.

Frank Johnson, not the man that the Suns
would've wanted to take that shot.

And Jordan was able to go the distance.

[commentator 2] Worst thing to happen!

Let 'em score and use up
very few precious seconds!

[commentator 3] It's Chicago's game
to win or lose.

They put 14.1 seconds up,
Suns lead by two.

They're gonna put the ball
in Michael Jordan's hands.

[commentator 1] It's come down to
this possession. The Suns by two.

And Pippen got the snatch.

Here's Paxson. For three!

Yes! The Bulls
take a one-point lead and...

[commentator 4] Yeah! Hits the three!
The crowd is stunned.

[commentator 5] John Paxson
nails the three!

That's the first score by anybody
other than Michael Jordan

in the entire fourth quarter!

The ball was not supposed to come to me.

But as a player, you're always ready.

And for me, personally,
it was pretty special.

[commentator 1] It's all over!

The Chicago Bulls have made it
three straight NBA championships.

A three-point shot by John Paxson,
the game winner.

I have no problem losing to Michael.

Losing to Michael,
there's no shame in that.

Sports are like a gunfight.

And... we lost to the fastest gun.


[Jordan] Physically,
I was getting exhausted,

but, mentally, I was
way past exhausted. [chuckles]

When you try to do something repetitively,

you lose some of the hunger
and some of the edge.

Here's the thing. I think,
when we won the third championship,

being around him,
there was more relief than true joy.

Like, it's over, you know? He was tired.

The aftermath, you kind of feel like...

[exhales deeply]

"What are we gonna do?"

This has been a very hard and trying time.
This has been a tough year.

Do I have to do anything else?

- Can I just sit here for a few minutes?
- [man] Yup.

Did you want to call your wife?

Yeah, man. Yes.

Is it... Is it joy or is it relief
or is it a combination?

This has been a great year,
but a tough year.

It's both. It's a relief.
Plus it's great to win.

I think we've gone through a lot.

Me, personally, I've gone through a lot
up to now, but...

To cap it off this way
means a lot to me, believe me.


[Jordan] My fame is...

It was good at the beginning.

Any time people talk about you
in a positive way,

yeah, it's great to hear those comments,
but now that you are... on a pedestal,

it's not just the positive talking
that you hear.

You hear some points and some people
taking shots at you, and...

that really changes the whole idea
of being out there for people to see you.

You wanna get behind closed doors
so people don't know you as much.

So, I'm at that stage in my career
and my life that...

I'd rather get behind closed doors
than to be out there in the spotlight

to be taking shots from everyone
that really don't know you as a person.

If I had the chance
to do it all over again,

I would never wanna be considered
a role model.

It's like a game
that's stacked against me.

There's no way I can win.

[Rashad] I think I've been asked
about a million times,

"Is he gonna quit, is he not gonna quit?"

I'm having fun making up stuff.

No one wants me to walk out,
knowing that I can still play the game.

- But I wanna leave two years before...
- [Rashad] Right. skills say
that I can't play this game.

[Rashad] Mm-hmm.

[Jordan] I don't wanna miss my time to go.
There's a lot of players...

say that, "I'm gonna play
until I can't play ever again."

- Right.
- I think Patrick said that one time.

That they'll have to carry him
off the court. You know.

- Mm-hmm.
- That's a... Ain't never...

Nobody gonna carry me off the court.
I wanna walk off the court.

A lot of people say,
"Well, you're gonna miss it."

I'm not... I'm not sure
if I'm gonna miss it.

I don't think I'm gonna miss it.

[Costas] ...Michael is Zen-calm
around the Bulls,

as they start their postseason tonight.

A calm that blocks out the speculation
about Jordan's retirement,

Phil Jackson's departure,
all the front-office politics.

If indeed this is the fabled last dance,

then pay attention
because it does begin tonight

for a team
that has a rested Scottie Pippen,

the best player in the world,
the top eastern seed,

and five games to
tune it up against the New Jersey Nets.

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