Michael Jordan is known by pretty much every sports fan across the globe. His signature moves, cheeky grin, and connection with major sports brands like Nike have made him a universal superstar. But he started small like any other player in the NBA.
In a new sports documentary series on Netflix, The Last Dance tells the story of Jordan’s rise to fame with a special focus on his final season with the Chicago Bulls. The 10 episode series includes a diverse collection of footage featuring Jordan, including his professional experiences on the court as well as his personal struggles. In episode seven, Jordan has to deal with the death of his father and his mental exhaustion while briefly pivoting into a new sport, baseball.
The Last Dance also gets into peak moments in Jordan’s experience on the world stage. Jordan’s relationship with Dennis Rodman is explored, both on and off the court. The “Be Like Mike” campaign for Gatorade and the 1992 NBA Finals are included, as Jordan fights to stay a champion and lead his team to victory.
Co-produced by Jordan’s company, it’s debatable whether this is a legitimate documentary or simply a story told from Jordan’s perspective. But his rise to fame has many lessons for sports fans and aspiring athletes everywhere. Jordan makes his own rules and competes harder than everyone else. He also understood that major athletes could be brand ambassadors and create their own companies, creating direct relationships with fans.
As sports seasons undergo cancellation after cancellation due to COVID, fans are still finding ways to enjoy classic sports stories while we quarantine. We can’t watch live sports, but we can still watch our favorite athletes rise to fame in sports documentaries online. Jordan’s lessons about perseverance, determination, and explosive energy offer inspiration to generations of sports fans, especially in a time where millions are quarantined at home.