The Last Dance: This one is personal, for Michael Jordan fans

Photo Credits: Basketball Forever

The Last Dance is over…once in 1998 and now once again. This isn’t a review of the Netflix series which has taken the world by storm. Who can review Michael Jordan…or should I say, ‘Black Jesus’?

I wouldn’t call ‘The Last Dance’ a documentary…I would rather call it a flashback or a regurgitating of memories in everyone who watched the years the Chicago Bulls were in total dominance of the NBA basketball world, namely from 1991-93 and 1996-98.

I had just moved to New York and remember watching a Bulls game with my room mate who said ‘Ah…Michael Jordan is brilliant, but will never win the championship because he has no support’. And that was true…at that time…the feeling was that the Bulls were a one man army…and just Jordan alone wasn’t able to win them the Championship title though he won them many games single-handed. 

And then the Bulls started to turn it around in 1991…because Jordan started to make his team mates take up more responsibility and they lived up to it. I still remember the amazing run they had like it was yesterday and watching the 1991 finals in the TV room of the 92nd St Y ( an establishment where students from all over the world stayed in New York), where I lived in New York. I had my friend from acting school, Terence Joyce, with me for company along with a room full of fans from all over the globe…mostly there for Michael Jordan. Once the Bulls had gotten through the New York Knicks in the first round of the play offs, everyone in New York seemed to turn into a Bulls fan…since there was a certain affinity with Chicago. That affinity didn’t seem to be there for the Detroit Pistons who weren’t seen as the torch bearers of fair play and so didn’t have many people rooting for them apart perhaps from Detroit itself. It was mesmerizing to see Jordan night after night create a magic which was hard to believe…but since it was ‘ankhon dekhi’ one just had to…especially the night he shifted that ball from the right hand to the left, got fouled and still managed to coax it into the net…sheer magic…the Bulls getting it over the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals was literally good over evil…

The 92nd St Y tv room was bursting with energy…the Bulls were facing Magic Johnson’s LA Lakers, what better David vs Goliath story could there be? Who could’ve thought that this rag tag bunch even though led by a genius…could get it over the machine that was the Lakers…there was only hope…and Jordan truly came through for all the faithful…I still remember it like it was yesterday…the 5th game of the series…that tongue hanging out…the Bulls winning the Championship…everyone getting to their feet in ecstasy…it almost repeats itself in slow motion…frame by frame…

Michael Jordan
PC: The Nation

The most enduring memory I have of the next season,1992, where of course now there was more faith in Jordan’s ‘not rag tag’ bunch anymore led by Scottie Pippen…is of watching the series finale in my room….my tiny room with it’s bunk bed and my room mate and his friend…where it got so crowded that we had to leave the door open because otherwise three guys couldn’t fit…we screamed so much that night that the other guys on the floor came to argue with us and tell us to keep it down…since most of them were studying…well…screw everyone’s studies…that wasn’t stopping us…we kept yelling in excitement and the guys started yelling back in the hallway…’SHUT THE F UP!!!’ But we couldn’t care less…we were watching greatness…all over again…again in slow motion as he lifted the championship cup for the second year in the row after getting it over the Portland Trail Blazers. The beers sure did taste good after that.

The most amazing thing about Jordan was that he not only got you to believe in him…but in yourself as well…that you can achieve the impossible…if you put your mind to it…and he did that because he seemed like the guy next door…who just worked hard…believed in himself and go things done…which is why the Gatorade commercial ‘Be Like Mike’ did so well…rather…went ballistic…a true inspiration…to this day…and my Jordan sneakers are proof of it…

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