The Last Dance (2020): Season 1, Episode 8 - Episode VIII - full transcript


Get your playoff programs!
Playoff programs!

Bulls-Charlotte program!

- What time is it?
- Game time!

In Chicago,
game one of round two.

Pregame with the Bulls
and the Hornets. Who's gonna win?

I believe the Bulls
are gonna win by 18 points.

- The Bulls'll win by 13.
- Blowout city. Bulls.

- Clean sweep.
- All right.

It will be a sweep.

By then,
I was playing for Charlotte,

and... look, let's just be honest here.

The Bulls were a far superior team,
and they knew it.

Now it's Michael.

Spinning, shooting over Wesley,
and there's his first basket.

If the Hornets
don't contain Jordan,

look for this to be a very short series.

Phil Jackson smiling
at game's end.

His team now 4-0 in this year's playoffs.

We lost the first one,

but I thought I knew that system
as well as anybody.

And I knew how to beat them.

Here is BJ Armstrong
with a jumper.

That was just bad defense.

And BJ Armstrong...

pushing it up, guarded by Kerr.

And now BJ Armstrong,
the former Chicago Bull,

hits a basket to give the Hornets
a three-point lead.

BJ Armstrong
getting more minutes

than he usually has this year.

Perhaps his knowledge of the Bulls
is part of Dave Cowens' thinking here.

Here's Armstrong.
Trying to push it up again.

And Armstrong hits,

and now the Hornets can't miss
as Phil Jackson wants a timeout.

I was excited to face them
in the playoffs,

knowing what I knew about the Bulls,
what I knew about Michael,

and to see if everything that
I had learned would actually work.

Michael was Michael, but anybody
can have a moment. I just had a moment.

And in that moment, I knew what to do.

Out to BJ
with 30 seconds to go.

BJ against his former teammate, Michael.

Here come the Hornets
with a three-point lead.

Hornets can hold on to this ball.

Jordan against Armstrong.
Armstrong backs up to the sideline.

Works off a Divac screen
to the right wing, pull-up pop.

And it's good!

BJ gives the Hornets
a five-point lead

with 17.8 seconds to go. Timeout, Chicago.

I hit that shot...

and I remember, I let Michael know.

I let Phil Jackson know,
I let Scottie know,

I let everyone
that I knew over there know.

The Hornets
have evened the series

in a stunning upset
over the Chicago Bulls.

Believe me, fans,
no Hornet is happier than BJ Armstrong.

For him, this is not just a ball game,
this is vindication.

This is "get back in your face," big-time.

He just opened up a can of "Whoop-Bulls."

I felt like BJ
should know better.

If you're gonna high-five, talk trash,
now I had a bone to pick with you.

I'm supposed to kill this guy,
I'm supposed to dominate this guy,

and from that point on, I did.

A spectacular move!

The game's over!

Chicago Stadium is going wild!

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

It's time for me to move on.

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

- Are the expectations too high?
- Where do we go from here?

The only question:
how long can it last?

Earlier in the show, you saw the vision

of how the Hornets shocked the Bulls
78-76 in Chicago

to even that best-of-seven series at one,

and it was a former Bull, BJ Armstrong,

whose jumper, with 18 ticks left,
sealed the win for Charlotte.

After, the reaction...

Michael holds himself
to such a high level.

When you've played as long as he did,
at the level he did,

he constructed reasons
to play hard that night.

These little slights
were deep indignations to him.

That's all he needs.
That's like throwing meat to a tiger.

He'd find a game within the game
to keep him interested.

But it was all in his mind.

The second straight year
the Bulls lost game two...

Do you know the LaBradford Smith story?
Has anybody told you that?

This was back in '93.

At one guard from
Louisville, LaBradford Smith.

The Bullets were terrible.
LaBradford Smith was their draft pick,

but this is what I always say,
"You never know.

It could be your night. You never know."

This night...
was LaBradford Smith's night.

LaBradford Smith,
left wing, drains it.

LaBradford Smith came off the screen,
from 16. Wow!

Baseline. Smith has hit everything else
from there, why not another one?

LaBradford Smith had a game.
I mean, he had a game of games.

...Jordan posted up
against Smith.

For whatever reason,
Michael couldn't make a basket.

Spins in the lane,
couldn't get it.

LaBradford Smith with a move, and...

Michael hits him
on the body... He nails it.

Smith, he has really got that touch going.

Not talking about him,
we're talking about LaBradford Smith.

In Chicago, LaBradford Smith scores
37 points against Michael Jordan.

He said thatLaBradford Smith,
walking out of the gym,

had said, "Nice game, Mike."

You knew that wasn't gonna go down well.

The next night, they play in Washington.

We played 'em back-to-back.
So, we're flying to Washington.

He said, "Tomorrow, in the first half,
I'm gonna have...

what this kid had in the game."

I've never seen a man go after
another player the way he did.

You saw that coming.

I think he's made his statement.

Jordan scores 36 in the first half.

He's concentrating
almost solely on LaBradford.

He took such umbrage at a guy saying,
"Nice game, Mike,"

that he torched and humiliated him
in front of 20,000 people.

Fast forward to decades past the incident,

and there's a rumor this never happened.

Smith never put his arm around Mike
and said, "Nice game, Mike."

A couple of writers went up to Michael
and said, "Did this ever happen?"

Michael, with a smile,
was just like, "No, I made it up."

There's nothing he would not do
to get himself to the place

where he's going to beat you.

You pissed off about last night?

Uh-uh.

Why? You think I should be?

So what? We lost one game.

Okay.

It'll be a dogfight tomorrow.

With BJ hittin' that shot and staring
the whole bench down and whatnot,

it just didn't sit well with Michael,
and we knew.

In the locker room, we said,
"Listen, guys, we're gonna have a dogfight

from here on out because
we have woke Michael Jordan up."

Yeah.

I mean, that's all right.

Let's see if all that trash-talking starts
when it's zero-zero

instead of five, six-point lead.

That's where it starts.

That's the sign of a good man,
if you can talk shit when it's even score,

or talk shit when you're behind score.
When you're ahead, it's easy to talk.

Mike does not need any more gas
in his car to get going.

But then when you do that,

you have to expect all hell
to break loose from that point on.

And, yeah, that's what happened.

All right.
Let's bring our best game.

Come on.

Let's play hard. Get pissed.

Payback is a motherfucker.

- Let's go.
- Let's go.

- What time is it?
- Game time!

Armstrong at the top,
shadowed by Michael.

Gives up his dribble,
pressured by Michael.

He came after me

in the rest of the series,
especially that next game.

Armstrong, top of the circle.

Michael all over him.
Armstrong, nowhere to go.

Jordan with a turnaround
over Armstrong. He knew he had him.

So the Hornets take Armstrong
off of Jordan momentarily.

Armstrong tonight,
only two points on one-of-seven shooting.

Michael Jordan has 20,
and the Bulls doing everything right.

♪ Let the man go through ♪

♪ Move aside
And let the man go through ♪

♪ Let the man go through ♪

The Bulls coming back,
winning the game they had to win.

I think BJ kind of forgot what drives us.

He woke us up, if we were in a sleep,
and we've been able to capitalize on that.

Welcome to
game four of this series with the Hornets,

the home club, trailing two games to one.

Here's the steal!

And count the basket.

The Bulls win it 94-80.

The Bulls
have just taken their heart.

That's what the Bulls do to you.

Jordan getting a step,
Rice stays with him.

And Jordan scores anyway.

And the final score, 93-84,

as the Bulls knock out the Hornets in five

and will now face the Indiana Pacers.

Halfway home. The way I look at it.

Better watch out.
We may go undefeated from here on in.

The fact of the matter is,

in my opinion, if Michael had stayed
with baseball,

he would've gotten to the major leagues.

But when the baseball strike
started in '94

and Major League Baseball came up
with what was a really dumb idea

of trying to start the season
with replacement players.

Today, in spring training camps
across the nation,

replacement baseball players
facing replacement baseball players.

There was a strike that year, and
they asked him to cross the picket line.

Michael said, "No, I'm not doing that."

Michael Jordan has said all along
that he will not play

in replacement games during the strike.

A man of his word, Jordan today walked out
of the White Sox camp.

One day, he called me
and said, "I'm in town.

What are you doing?"
I said, "I'm about to go to practice,

you know the routine."
He was like, "Let's meet at...

Bakers Square." I said, "All right."

After breakfast,
we eat our little pancakes,

and I was like, "I gotta go to practice."
I was like,

"Why don't you just come over? Say hello.
Everybody would like to see you."

Morning.

He comes over to practice,

and I started telling him,

"You old, you been out of the game.
You can't play no more.

I'll kick your ass right now."
More or less.

First, it was a joke,

and before I knew it,
we were playing a full one-on-one.

I just could feel something different
was going on that day.

You just had a different feeling
in that locker room,

and I remember asking Harp,
"What's going on?"

And Harp just turned to me and said,
"The man is here."

Super Mike working out
yesterday with his old teammates.

Is this a trend
or just scratching his basketball itch?

Just the hint that Michael Jordan
might be returning to the NBA

sent newsrooms and reporters
scurrying all day today.

Too much speculation. There are too many
ifs and too many things to be worked out.

Trying to guess what Mike will do next
has become a full-time hobby for many.

It started to come into my mind,
"Maybe go back, maybe go back."

Scottie, actually, on TV,

with the shoes up,
telling me to come back.

Did you see
Scottie pointing to the Air Jordan emblem

on the bottom of his sneaker?

Will the basketball great
return to the Bulls?

Jordan participated
in the Bulls practice

for the third time in a week.

The MJ watch continues
among fans, the media,

and his possible future teammates,

but even with fingers crossed,

not everyone believes
that Michael is really coming back.

I would be surprised if he came back.

The sports world hangs on the next word
of Michael Jordan.

But he isn't talking yet.

But only Jordan knows the answer
everyone's looking for,

and it seems he'll share it
in his own good time.

So, finally, after all this stuff,
he called me and he said,

"I think I'm ready to come back."

So I wrote three or four
different versions, you know,

of the press release, for him to announce
he was coming back,

but he didn't feel comfortable that
it had captured what he wanted to say.

So I said,
"Why don't you freaking write one?"

I gave him the pen and paper
and he just wrote.

That's all he needed to say.

The sign says it all.

Now, Bulls fans can take
a deep breath and relax.

We no longer have to endure life
without Michael.

The drought is over.

Jordan is back.

We should all bow our heads
in a moment of silence

in recognition of Jordan's return
to pro basketball.

Chicago sports fans riding
high on Air Jordan these days.

Word from the Windy City,
Air Jordan is back with the Bulls.

All seems right in the world
because MJ's back.

He sends the famous fax out,
"I'm back."

And it was shocking

given that we were almost
at the end of the season.

The Chicago Bulls are barely
above .500 with a 34-31 record.

That '94-'95 season, we struggled.

We lost Horace Grant
when he went to Orlando,

and that was really upsetting.

Yesterday afternoon, Bulls owner
Jerry Reinsdorf cut ties with Grant.

They could have extended his contract
and they didn't.

And then Horace Grant goes out
and becomes the star with Orlando.

Here's Horace! In person!

That year, the Bulls had missed
that power forward, that rebounder,

that defensive presence
with the loss of Grant.

It wasn't the previous season where

we had the residual effect
of the championships

and the foundation and the core group.

We were kind of a mess the next year.
We weren't that good.

So, when Michael came back,
it gave us new life.

It was like...

"Wait a second, you know, we can...
we can do this again."

When Michael first came back,

he's like, "Billy, we're finally gonna
get to play together.

I want you to jump on the cape.

But you need to hold on."

"All right."
That set the tone from day one.

After the baseball,
he was even more committed.

More... goal oriented,

and the goals were only
winning a championship.

Winning a championship.

Today's the day
basketball fans have been waiting for.

After an absence of a year and a half,

superstar Michael Jordan
is back in the game,

and he'll play with the Bulls later today
against the Indiana Pacers.

We landed and we got off the airplane.
I was waiting for Michael.

Waited a few minutes and whatnot,

and I think Michael was just having
a quiet emotional time

on the plane by himself 'cause...

this is the first time he was gonna play
without his father being around.

And, uh, it hit him hard.

And he was tearing up a little bit,

and I said, "Hey, you got this.
You ready to go?"

"Yeah. Just give me a minute.
I'll be with you in a minute."

I was nervous...

'cause I hadn't played competitive
in a long time.

And I just felt naked, you know,
because my father just wasn't there.

So different.

Playing a game
without his dad being there...

I think that brought James' death
back to light for him.

MJ's in town!

Who needs tickets? Four together.

$150 each.

- I give you $200.
- Give me $225.

Been offered two grand
for these tickets. Said, "No way."

This is as close to the Super Bowl
I'm ever gonna come.

What Michael Jordan does today

and what he will attempt to do
in the next several months

or maybe years is truly unprecedented.

He doesn't want to simply be effective
or even be an All-Star.

He wants to be the best again.
He wants to dominate.

Can he? And if he can,
are the Bulls a championship contender?

The atmosphere in Market Square
was electric.

We ran out onto the floor,

and the air was thick
with anticipation and anxiety.

It felt like the Finals.

Oh, boy. Listen to the
reaction here at Market Square Arena

as Michael took the court.

It was an emotional moment.
There he was. He was back.

Twenty-one months after
his last appearance in an NBA game,

Michael Jordan has returned
and he's wearing number 45.

I didn't want to go with 23

because I knew my father wasn't there
to watch me,

and I felt it was a new beginning.

And 45 was my first number
when I played in high school.

The much-heralded return
of superstar Michael Jordan

got off to a rocky start.

His shooting touch was missing,
and his shorts were on backwards.

He struggled, trying to
shake off the rust, and it showed.

Michael, outside, inside,
couldn't get it to go.

Then the patented drive.
Rik Smits gets a piece of it.

Michael, 0-for-6 from the floor.

Then the old Jordan would finally emerge.

MJ, the steal from Rik Smits,
and takes it the distance.

The Pacers would get the last word,
and they look to Reggie Miller.

Not quite a Disney ending
for Michael Jordan, but he's back.

Being away
from the game that long,

and just how much the body had changed,

I was very unsure...

that he could perform

at the level that he's accustomed
to performing on a regular basis.

That just added more pressure to prove
he's still Michael Jordan,

and that was part of his greatness,
was never being satisfied.

The inbound to Michael.
Racing the clock.

Jordan for the win...

Yes!

He is now back!

Holy mackerel! And it was vintage Jordan.

When he came back,
we were full power again.

Yeah, we were off and running.

Well, the big star plays a big city,
and that makes for very big news.

The Michael Jordan comeback tour
sets down at Madison Square Garden.

Tip-off in about 90 minutes.

Anybody who was everybody,
or everybody who was anybody,

on hand to watch Michael's return
to the Garden.

They would not be disappointed.

Jordan... 15-footer.
Look out!

Jordan is 2-for-2 to start this game.

Double team, Oakley gets there. Too late!

Michael is four of five.

Jordan... starts out on fire.

After that long layoff,
he was able to come back

and have one of his best games
in the Garden.

♪ Nope, shut him down
The king with a crown ♪

♪ 'Cause all you wanna be
is Diggy Down ♪

It's unfortunate because I think I had
a great game that game as well,

but no one remembers that.

Fourteen ticks left, tie game.

Jordan. You've gotta double team him.

Wennington!

He made a pass when he had to.
Bulls win. He's back.

Jordan scores 55
in just his fifth game back.

When he came back
and he scored 55 in the Garden,

I'm thinking, "Oh, man,

it's gonna be crazy if we meet them
in the playoffs."

We're set for game one of
the Eastern Conference Semifinals series

between the Bulls and the Magic.

I felt great about that year.

We had some very good young players
in Shaquille O'Neal...

Nice move by Shaquille.

...Penny Hardaway...

Hardaway,
down the lane to hammer it home.

...Nick Anderson.

...Shawn Bradley.
He'll challenge him into the hole!

I knew Michael. He was still
working himself back into condition.

Horace Grant, the one-time
Chicago Bull, able to control.

All the world's a stage
when your name is Michael Jordan,

so the spotlight
that shines brightly on your triumphs

also burns intensely on your mistakes.

On Sunday in Orlando,
Jordan had more than a bit-part

during the closing scene
in game one, fourth quarter.

Bulls up 91-90. 22 seconds to go.

So the Bulls up one.
Michael's got the ball in his hands.

Not any longer.

Penny to the former Bull, Horace Grant.
Magic up by one.

When Michael came back
from playing baseball,

and Nick Anderson stole his rock,

the reason that stood out,

you hadn't seen anybody
take Michael's rock in a long time.

It's like watching Muhammad Ali
in the second half of his career

when someone lands a punch on him.

It's like,
"You mean, you can hit this guy?"

Jordan still
had a chance to deliver

one of his patented buzzer-beaters,

but instead he threw it away.

He dropped it out of bounds!

This just in: Michael Jordan is human.

In crunch time, gives up a steal,
throws the ball away, Bulls lose.

After the game, Nick Anderson said,
"45 isn't 23."

Oh, man.

Obviously,
Jordan is superstitious.

45 is in mothballs. 23 is back.

I just felt like 45 wasn't natural.

I wanted to go back to the feeling
I had with 23.

When we met them in the next game...

MJ just went off.

Pippen... finds Michael.

The pull up.

It's down for a three.

That first quick step,
that jump stop,

the lean-in, that's a tough shot.

Averaged 11 field goals attempts
during the regular season.

Jordan with the block
on O'Neal!

Oh, baby!

Bulls back.
Jordan looking to go to the basket.

How about... On cue.

That's a big play!

Oh, my! Scott had it
blocked by Jordan. Over the back.

This could be entertaining.

Chicago gets the win 104-94.

Jordan un-retires number 23,
shocks the world. Bulls win game two.

The Bulls pulled even
with the Magic,

but does Jordan have the legs
to last throughout the playoffs?

He was not 100% of himself.

That year, he was
80-something percent of himself.

You're looking at
an exhausted Jordan.

Obviously,
he's not in great shape.

He's in "I've been playing baseball
for 21 months" shape.

He didn't have time
to get his legs underneath him,

and that was reflected in some
of the postseason games that year.

The Magic are one win away

from eliminating Michael Jordan
and the Bulls from the playoffs.

There are a couple of things
wrong with Chicago right now.

They didn't have Michael
for the course of the season

so while other players are in great shape
and can go game in and game out,

Michael has not been able to sustain
the effort over the course of a game.

Looking back, I didn't have enough time
to prepare my body for basketball.

So I was a little nervous
going into that playoff.

As the Bulls teeter
on the brink of elimination,

tonight, the Magic will try
to give them a little push.

It is a one-point
Bulls lead.

Orlando has reeled off
seven straight points.

Tough shot by Michael. Air ball.

A chance for Orlando to take the lead.

I don't remember
seeing Michael Jordan this tired.

This is unbelievable.

Eight seconds on the shot clock.

Let Anderson
go against Kukoc.

- Take him to the basket.
- Five.

Oh, my goodness!
What a shot by Nick Anderson!

It's all over.
The Bulls season comes to an end.

Here at the United Center,
the Orlando Magic gets the victory.

Look at Horace,
they're booing him,

but he's up on their shoulders, Bob.

That was
one of Michael's lowest points,

is when he came back and they didn't win.

He hated the fact that Horace was on
the other team when they beat him.

And just to watch all the celebrating
that they were doing,

I think that's what he took to heart.

He used that for that next year.

After the season,

usually there's a time period
where Michael takes some time off.

The night they lost to Orlando,

I said, "Michael, you know,
I'm about to get out of here.

Let me know when you want me to see you."

He goes, "I'll see you tomorrow."

Michael had an obligation
to himself, the fans,

his teammates, the organization,
his family.

Everybody.

He said, "If you're going to sit down
and take three hours out of your day...

to watch me on TV,

I have an obligation to give you my best.

To give you my best, all the time."

And action!

Cut!

The summer after Michael came back,
he was filming the movie Space Jam.

NBA superstar Michael Jordan
starts filming his movie this summer

with longtime screen veteran Bugs Bunny.

Really, this is the truth.
The movie's called Space Jam.

Here's the premise.
A bunch of aliens wanna kidnap Bugs.

Soon, there's a basketball game
and Michael Jordan joins the team.

He knew that Space Jam
was not as important

as getting back and playing basketball
at the level he wanted to play at.

And while they were filming,
he went back to work.

I said, "Look, I need to practice.
I need a facility where I can work out."

"Don't worry about it.
We'll build you that."

Sure enough, when we came out there
to do the film, it was all set up.

We had the Jordan Dome.

It was like a professional facility.
Fabulous.

Beautiful floor, big dome, weights.

Grover was there, his workout guy.

The days would be
Monday through Saturday.

We start off at 7:00.

I would get a two-hour break
and I would go work out with Tim.

I had a whole program designed up,

working all the muscles
for going back to basketball.

I spent 15 months turning my body
into a baseball body.

Basketball is a little bit
more shoulders, chest.

So I had to reconstruct
my whole body, which was hard.

And then after we finish,
usually around 7:00,

we would invite people
and we'd play pick-up games.

We had the idea if we invited

the best players in the league out here,

he would get a chance to see everybody
before the season started,

and then it became, like, a thing.

Everyone had to come out
to Warner Bros. studio

to play against Michael.

And this was an opportunity
for him to see everybody

and we would do scouting reports.

This is what Chris Mullin
and Reggie Miller would do.

We got Reggie Miller.

Patrick Ewing today. Shawn Bradley.

It was some of the best games.

There was no officials.
You're calling your own fouls.

So it was a little bit
more rugged and raw.

I don't know how he did it.

I don't know how he filmed all day...

and then still had the energy
to play three hours.

I mean, we would play
until 9:00 or 10:00 at night.

He still had to get weightlifting in,

and then his call time was
at 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning

so I don't know how...
This dude was like a vampire. For real.

Playing against young talent,
they were full of energy

and I had to help excel my talent,
get my talents back.

Honestly, one of the best things
that could have possibly happened,

as much as everyone hates losing,

is that we lost to Orlando because Michael
came back with a vengeance.

When Michael came back, it was a new team.

Scottie was the only one still there
from the first championship team.

Michael hadn't played
with Luc Longley yet.

He hadn't played with Jud Buechler
and Steve Kerr yet,

and Bill Wennington and all those guys.

That preseason
training camp was unbelievable.

You could tell he was on a mission.

By the time camp started,
he was in incredible shape,

but he was also frothing at the mouth.

That's how angry he was from losing.

So every day at training camp
was just a war,

every day was a battle
and he talked a lot of shit.

I wanted them to understand
what it felt like to be in the trenches.

If you don't understand, then you're
not going to respond when the war starts.

Steve and Luc, all those guys,

they come in riding high on the three
championships that we won in '91, '92...

And they had no fucking, you know...
Anything to do with it.

But yet now they play
for the Bulls and they...

No, dude, it's... It's...

We were shit when I got there

and we got to elevate to being
a championship-quality team.

There's certain standards
that you have to live by.

You don't come pussyfooting around.

You don't come in joking
and kidding around.

You gotta come in ready to play.

So, one day at practice,
Phil put Steve Kerr guarding me.

We're on opposite sides in a scrimmage
and he's talking all kinds of trash

and I'm pissed because, you know,
we're getting our ass kicked.

Phil sensed my aggression,
but he was trying to tone me down

and he starts calling
these ticky-tack fouls.

I'm getting mad because,
for you to be protecting this guy,

that's not gonna help us
when we play New York,

it's not going to help us when we play
these teams that are very physical.

Next time he did it, I just hauled off
and fucking... I said...

When I fouled Steve Kerr, I said,
"Now that's a fucking foul."

I have a lot of patience as a human being,

but I tend to snap at some point
because I'm extremely competitive too.

Just not really good enough
to back it up, usually, but I'm going.

I'm going. I'm gonna fight.

He hauls off and hits me in the chest

and I just haul off and hit him
right in the fucking eye.

And Phil just throws me out of practice.

So I go down to the locker room
and Michael says,

"I know.

You know, I lost it for a second."

I'm in the shower and say,

"I just beat up the littlest guy
on the court,"

and I felt about this small.

So when I get in the car,
you know, I called...

Went back to the Berto Center and said,
"Please give me Steve Kerr's number."

I called Steve and I apologized.

"Look, man,
it had nothing to do with you."

You know, "I feel bad."

We talked it out
and it was probably, in a weird way,

the best thing that I ever did,
was stand up for myself with him,

because he tested everybody
he played with and I stood up to him.

He earned my respect
because he wasn't willing to back down

to be a pawn in this whole process.

From that point on,
our relationship dramatically improved,

and our trust in each other, everything.

It was like,
"All right, we got that out of the way.

We're going to war together."

And that season has to be the best team
I've ever been a part of.

Dennis Rodman had just arrived in Chicago.

Dominant defensive player.

He was a new character, but I knew Dennis,

and I knew what
he could do basketball-wise.

♪ Step into a world ♪

♪ But the very best ♪

That year, they were on it from the jump.

Look out!

Rodman has restored
the rebounding presence

that disappeared when Horace Grant
left for Orlando.

I loved it in Chicago.

I loved it.

Michael's Michael, Scottie's Scottie,
Dennis is Dennis.

So it was, like, great.

When we come together,
we feed off each other.

Michael can count on me and vice-versa.

...blocked by
Dennis Rodman.

What a great play.

The Bulls rattled off
an amazing 23 wins in their first 25 games

and it became apparent this team
had a shot to be the greatest of all time.

The Bulls
have been superb.

Everybody knew we were witnessing

the best season in NBA history
to that point.

♪ I'm sorry, I lied ♪

♪ I'm number one, two, three
Four and five ♪

♪ Stop wastin' your money... ♪

I'm sitting on a plane
with Steve and Scottie.

We're looking at the schedule
and Scottie's like,

"Hmm, wow, I don't think we're going to
lose a game for three months."

The Bulls are trying
to break the record

for most wins in a single season.

The team they are trying to
beat for that is the '71-'72 Lakers team.

And that team had 69 wins
and 13 losses for the year.

Well, if the Bulls win 70 tonight,

they go down in history
as possibly the best team of all time.

There it is! Seventy has
become a reality for the Chicago Bulls.

The Chicago Bulls tonight
have made history.

The debate will now rage
about whether they are the best team ever.

This year's Chicago Bulls squad

just may go down
as the greatest team of all time.

The Bulls finished the season
with a record of 72 and 10,

but they said, "It don't mean a thing
without the ring."

This one's in the books.
Chicago goes to the second round.

Phil Jackson, the NBA Coach of the Year,

has his team in the
Eastern Conference Finals.

If you know MJ, as I do very well,

only thing he was doing during the summer

is having Orlando Magic
on his mind. That's all.

Today's game one
of the Eastern Conference Finals

is between the Orlando Magic
and your Chicago Bulls!

They needed a rebounder.

They needed a defensive stopper.

Rodman
with his ninth rebound.

That's what Dennis did.

Pass to Pippen.
Scottie Pippen goes all the way.

We didn't have a chance.

The Bulls
have swept the Magic.

Jordan finishes with 45 points.

The Bulls do it 106-101

as the Orlando Magic have been swept.

Was it extra sweet
beating Orlando for you?

That had been a motivating thing
for you for over a year now.

Because of last year
and the number change,

and 45 didn't look like 23
and, you know, whatever, but...

we all were disappointed last year.

We came back to redeem ourselves as a unit
and I think we did that effectively.

From the United Center
in Chicago, Illinois,

welcome to the 1996 NBA Finals.

- Go Bulls! Number one!
- Yeah!

Bulls-Seattle program! Playoff program!

Hi, everybody. I'm Bob Costas
and welcome to these NBA Finals

with due respect to Seattle SuperSonics
and apologies to their fans,

the prevailing attitude in Chicago,
and for most of the country really,

is that these NBA Finals loom not so much
as a competition, as a coronation.

This is viewed as the greatest mismatch
in NBA Finals history.

That team was a good team.
They won 72 games.

But we was a pretty goddamn good team too.

And we had beat them
in the regular season.

During the regular season,

that '96 Seattle team had been
the best team in the Western Conference.

They had Gary Payton, a great point guard,
all-defensive player.

Steal by Payton.

They call him The Glove,
he's such a good defender.

He had a great
alley-oop partner in Shawn Kemp.

He will go to get it
with the right hand!

They had a good coach
in George Karl.

- Let's go!
- Kick their ass

and be proud of what you've done.

- Now go out there and be big.
- Let's go.

- Go!
- Sonics!

During the Finals,
we go out to dinner one night.

George Karl's having dinner
on the other side.

"Hey, it's George Karl over there."

And George Karl does not come over
and speak to him.

He walked right past me.

I look at him, I say, "Really?
So that's how you're gonna play it."

He just kind of went by and I went,
"Uh-oh. Should have never done that."

I said, "That's a crock of shit."

We went to Carolina, we know Dean Smith,
I've seen him in the summer, we play golf.

"You gonna do this? Fine."

That's all I needed.

That's all I needed for him to do that
and it became personal with me.

Jordan's being guarded
by Wingate.

Jordan...

Jordan... Yes!

That's just
an impossible matchup for Douglas.

He's always finding some place
to find something to get him all fired up.

Now Jordan going
against Payton.

Goes to the fadeaway.

He wanted that shot.
He wanted Gary Payton.

As soon as he had him one-on-one,
he waved everybody out of there...

He used that
for every single game.

"I'm gonna show him.
He won't come and speak to me?"

The Bulls over the Sonics 92-88.

Here is Jordan for three.

Game three, 108-86.

The first three games, Mike ripped us.

Ripped a hole in us,
ripped a hole in our ass, really.

The Sonics lose the first three,

but George Karl didn't play his best card,

which was putting Payton on Jordan.

I had just won Defensive Player
of the Year, made All-League.

But me and George had a meeting.

He said, "I don't care
about your defense right now.

I know you can do that."

He said, "I need you to score."

So, he didn't want to sacrifice me
on both ends of the floor,

but we got down 3-0.

I was mad.

I said, "Fuck what
you're talking about, George.

I'm guarding, whatever you say."

I said, "You can't control this no more."

Lots of changes
for the SuperSonics.

Defensive Player of the Year Gary Payton

will start the game guarding Jordan.

That's the matchup many have
wanted to see this entire series.

Jordan is not like he used to be.

You know, he got a little aged,
he was off of basketball.

I think, uh, my best bet
is to really get him tired.

The call against Chicago.

Offensive foul on Michael Jordan.

Gary really got into him,
was talking shit to him too.

Gary did about as good a job
as you can expect guarding Michael.

Fourth quarter.
Here is Jordan.

Whoa. It is one of those nights
for Michael.

He is now 6-for-19 from the field.

The Sonics will not be swept.

This will go to a fifth game.

Oh, Jordan beat badly
backdoor defensively.

Everyone thought the Bulls
were gonna sweep.

The 72-10 season was going to be
capped off by a sweep in the Finals.

This was gonna be the greatest team.
The Sonics said, "Not so fast."

Payton feeling it.
Nobody guarding, everybody backing off.

Not afraid at all.

And that'll do it.

The Sonics with an 89-78 win
over the Bulls.

It's been a complete
and remarkable turnaround for Seattle.

Gary Payton outplayed Michael Jordan
the last two games...

A lot of people back down to Mike.

I didn't.

I made it a point.
I said, "Just tire him out.

Tire the fuck out of him.
You just gotta tire him out."

And I kept hittin' him and bangin' him
and hittin' him and bangin' him.

It took a toll on Mike.

It took a toll and then...

I feel so selfish.

...resting him a little bit.

And then, the series changed
and I wish I could've did it earlier.

I don't know if the outcome
would've been different,

but it was a difference...
and beating him down a little bit.

The Glove.

I had no problem with The Glove.

I had no problem with Gary Payton.

I had a lot of other things on my mind.

Good evening,
ladies and gentlemen,

and a Happy Father's Day
to dads all around the world.

One of the main things I saw really
that affected him was Father's Day.

That championship game
was on Father's Day.

The importance of his father
to him, it was huge.

James was always there in those moments.

If you see some of the highlights
of Michael celebrating, where's his dad?

Right next to him.

His dad was always next to him

so a piece of Michael's heart
was missing.

He thought back to when
he won his first championship

and he was crying
on the Larry O'Brien Trophy

and his father was right there
over his shoulder.

Now they're back in the Finals,

and his father wasn't there
to share it with him.

♪ Nine nights of matter ♪

The opening tip
controlled by the Bulls.

Michael Jordan.

Yes! Well, he knew it on the release.
He began to walk back down court.

Scottie Pippen continues to play
perfect basketball.

♪ Black flowers blossom ♪

Michael has always been

pretty close to the vest
with his feelings.

He was holding it together
for the entire family.

He was so strong
for the rest of us.

He won't allow you to see the emptiness.

He said, "Mom, I know he's there.
He's watching. He sees."

♪ Water is my eye ♪

Seven-year-old Jeffrey Jordan

holding up a Happy Father's Day sign.

The Bulls have a 15-point lead.

This has just become
a clinic for Chicago.

George Karl forced to call a timeout.
Things falling apart for Seattle.

87-75.

We're in the final seconds.

The Chicago Bulls have won

the '95-'96 NBA Championship.

Make it four in six years.

Michael, I know that
the first one was sweet,

but how much sweeter was this one?

Well, you know,
I can't even put it in words.

On Father's Day, what it means to me.

I know he's watching.

To my wife, and to my kids, to my mother,

my brothers and sisters,
this is for Daddy.

I'm very happy right now.

♪ You're stumbling into all ♪

♪ Stumbling into all ♪

We're just over 40 minutes
from the tip-off

of the Eastern Conference Finals
between Indiana and Chicago.

Can the Pacers
end the Jordan era?

Such big-picture questions loom
as the Conference Finals begin in Chicago.

Could be another awe-inspiring exhibition,
could be the end of an era.

If the Jordan era
is going to end, and one day it will,

a loss to Indiana
in the Eastern Conference Final

in front of home folks
is not what the Bulls might consider

the most optimum way to wrap it up.

Gotta get out of the box quick.
Don't let them come in here...

Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome
once again to Bulls basketball,

playoff basketball, as we move
to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Bulls and the Indiana Pacers.

We all looked at the Bulls
as the standard model of success.

They were considered the best
at that time, but we felt...

I feel to this day,
we were the better team.

The whole thing is, there was whispers

that this was going to be
Mike's last year.

So, I think a perfect storm was brewing...

and in my mind, I was thinking,
"All right, this is it.

You're going to retire Michael Jordan."

Surf the internet with browser of future
osdb.link/brave