Good morning, frents!
Sounds like this might be the week we find out how we might get some MLB back in our lives. More info on that following the penultimate Last Dance recap.
By the way, “there’s a Last Dance screencap for that” is the new “there’s a tweet for everything.”
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“Winning has a price”
So we’re eight hours into this and I have only one questions.
Who pegged MJ as a “let’s meet at Baker’s Square” kind of guy?
It was an emotional and honest night: Any concerns I had that “The Last Dance” wouldn’t drill down past surface-level hagiography or nostalgia-fueled highlights disappeared on Sunday night. Episode 7 started off with James Jordan’s tragic murder and used the next two hours to explore what drove Jordan’s first retirement from basketball, the self-motivating techniques he used to achieve things both big and small (shoutout to LaBradford Smith) and how his teammates often ended up as collateral damage in his unrelenting quest to win.
It was interesting to see Jordan’s teammates weigh the price of how they’d been treated with the ultimate results that were pulled for them. Same for the visceral reaction that Jordan showed when asked to recount that cost more than 20 years later. It was definitely the most real night of the series and that was even before it ended with Jordan sobbing on the floor of the training room following the first title after his father’s death.
We needed a follow up on that Scottie Pippen line: It wasn’t a great night for Pip as his decision to sit for those infamous 1.8 seconds against the Knicks in the 1994 playoffs was revisited in great detail. The segment ended with this quote from Pippen: “It was one of those incidents where I wish it never happened, but if I had a chance to do it again, I probably wouldn’t change it.”
Why wouldn’t he change what’s widely viewed as one of the most selfish moves in NBA history? We have no idea because the documentary moves on without asking one of the most obvious followups of the entire 10 hours.
(Another quibble: No mention of Scottie and the Bulls being robbed in Game 5 of that series. If we can besmirch the name of dead Jerry Krause, we should be able to beat up on dead Hue Hollins a bit.)
Time is running out! I was a little surprised with how quickly the documentary moved through the 72-win season in 1995-96. That entire campaign and the ensuing playoffs took up less than 15 minutes of airtime last night.
Hey, some things get cut for time. But think about everything the series still has to wrap up next week. The flu game … The shot … Pretending like the Wizards comeback never happened.
I’ll admit to initially thinking that there was no way they’d keep our attention for an entire 10 hours. Now I’m positive they could have done it for 20.
Star of the night (non-MJ division)
Steve Kerr was great while talking about Pip’s decision to sit — “He quit on us. We couldn’t believe he did that. It was devastating” — and in talking about the time he got punched in the face by Jordan at practice.
It was a moment we were all anticipating from the start of the series and both Kerr and Jordan delivered in recounting it. Watch the whole clip again here.
The final two minutes of Episode 7 had me ready to run through a brick wall …
… but the clear winner is Jordan reacting to Gary Payton’s thoughts on the ‘96 Finals.
Only Jordan could make us completely forget crying Jordan by giving us another meme that will take us through the next five years of the Internet.
Best old NBA player sighting (non-Toni Kukoc division)
41-year-old James “Buddha” Edwards!
True story: Ask 10 people to name you the most random Bulls championship team member and six will say Robert Parish. The other four will be some sort of combination of Edwards, Dickey Simpkins and Rusty LaRue.
This week’s bullying of Scott Burrell
Three more things to read
- Luc Longley’s deafening silence in “The Last Dance:” The Aussie center got so many interview requests he changed his number. (Sydney Morning Herald)
- Own a Gem Mint 10 ‘86 Fleer. You might not be able to afford Jordan’s rookie card by yourself, but a newish company will allow you buy shares of one. (Bro Bible)
Many teams. One Chicago sports newsletter.
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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported over the weekend that Major League Baseball has a 2020 season plan it’s ready to bring to the owners on a conference call today. If all goes well, the league will present the plan to the players union on Tuesday.
Rosenthal stresses nothing is official, but cites a “rough outline” involving ~82 games, a schedule based around division play and the same geographic division in the opposite league and an expanded playoffs. Games would be staged in as many home parks as possible.
There are still a lot of hurdles to clear, not the least of which are prorated player salaries and medical procedures should any players become infected with COVID-19.
Stay tuned …
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• A test of 5,754 Major League Baseball employees revealed that just 60 tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, Jeff Passan reports. (ESPN)
• The St. Charles home that holds the history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League catcher Terry Donahue and her wife. This article was really well done, even if you haven’t seen Netflix’s “A Secret Love” yet. (Daily Herald)
• Teddy Greenstein on Rashard Griffith earning his degree at Wisconsin, 25 years after leaving Madison. I feel bad that Griffith won’t get that moment to walk across the stage, just like so many other high school and college grads this spring. (Tribune)
• I spent some time Saturday night on WGN Radio with Mark Carman and Andy Masur. We talked about the John McDonough/Cammy piece, the Bears schedule and the future of the Blackhawks. Here’s the audio if you missed it. (WGN Radio)
•Three and a half stars? Gene Siskel wrote this Space Jam review like he regularly sat in courtside seats at Bulls games. (Chicago Tribune)
• This is the best plan I’ve heard so far.
OK everyone, let’s go out and have ourselves a week.
As always, thank you for being a #frentofthenewsletter.