Good morning, frents …
So you’re forced to watch one: A three-hour long documentary on Michael Jordan’s time with the Wizards … Or one on Tim Floyd and the 1998-99 Bulls?
As Rosenbloom used to write in the Trib: “And remember, death is not an option …”
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When you’re left wanting more
Well, that was fun. I’m already looking forward to going back and watching ‘The Last Dance’ for a second time without scribbling down notes or screencapping Scott Burrell insults. Like my worn-out VHS copy of Super Bowl XX, it really does feel like something we’ll be pulling out whenever we’re in need of Chicago sports comfort food.
We were mad at the wrong Jerry all along!
After nine episodes of shade, Jerry Krause finally got his due when Scottie Pippen called him the ‘greatest GM in basketball history.’ Jerry Reinsdorf didn’t fare as well as the closing moments showed him explaining the breakup as a simple matter of money. Bringing back everyone would have broke the bank … a statement that didn’t sit well with Jordan when he was showed Reinsdorf’s comments on an iPad.
“It was maddening, because I felt like we could’ve won seven,” Jordan said. “I really believe that. We may not, but man, just not to be able to try, that’s something I just can’t accept."
Reinsdorf has some defenses in the argument, chief among them being that Scottie Pippen probably isn’t taking below market rate to try for No. 7, no matter what MJ’s hindsight wants him to believe.
Regardless, anyone who was already in the “Jerry Reinsdorf is a lousy owner who lucked into the greatest player in basketball history and one World Series championship’ camp probably isn’t feeling too lonely today. That ending feels like it has the potential to permanently alter Reinsdorf’s legacy for the worse across a wider swath of Chicago.
Everyone loved this doc. But it was different for Bulls fans.
Jordan was such a global phenomenon that “The Last Dance” was guaranteed to be a hit no matter where you showed it. But none of those viewers were able to relive it like we did. I’ll miss climbing into a virtual time machine every Sunday night and reliving my childhood and teenage years. I might never again be able to step foot into Chicago Stadium or feel exactly how I felt when Jordan sank that last shot, but “The Last Dance” let me get pretty damn close. I’m sure a lot of you were able to feel the same. What a great and unexpected gift that was.
‘The Last Dance’ wasn’t perfect. But it didn’t need to be.
We can sit here and pick nits until the Bulls win their next title.
The documentary never found a consistent structure across its 10 episodes. We probably sacrificed more depth from the main players just so we could hear from all the famous people the director landed interviews with. Jordan’s involvement sometimes made it feel like the world’s longest Jumpman commercial.
None of it takes away from what “The Last Dance” gave us the last five weeks. In an imperfect time, it was the perfect excuse for all of us to get together and enjoy a shared experience that didn’t involve sharing tips on where to get toilet paper or yelling at each other over that dumb “Plandemic” video. We don’t get enough of these chances any more, even in healthy times. “The Last Dance” will be one of the rare good things we’ll remember about 2020.
The others will be … well, let me get back to you.
Star of the night (non-MJ division)
This woman woke up on Sunday having no idea she’d be a star by the end of the day.
Technically, not from Episodes 9 and 10, but this is worth a watch when you’re going through Last Dance withdrawals today.
Best old NBA player sighting (non-Greg Ostertag division)
Larry Bird and Karl Malone made Isiah Thomas’ claims about teams not shaking hands after postseason series look even more foolish.
This week’s bullying of Scott Burrell
I know he has a college coaching gig, but you can’t convince me that Burrell isn’t No. 1 on the list of Last Dance extras most likely to end up on Dancing With The Stars.
Three more things to read
- Jamal Collier has more on Gus Lett, MJ’s trusted security guard. (Tribune)
- The legendary bad Bulls beat you’ve probably forgotten. (Action Network)
- Jerry Krause’s unpublished memoir gives his side of the ‘98 breakup. (NBC Sports Chicago)
Buy! New Last Dance merch from Midway Minute partner Breaking T. All proceeds from this collection go directly to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
RIP Michael McCaskey, who died Saturday after a long battle with leukemia. The former Bears chairman was 76 and the oldest of Virginia McCaskey’s 11 children.
McCaskey took over following George Halas’ death in 1983 and was the steward as the Bears won Super Bowl XX in 1985. The team also reached Super Bowl XLI and the 2010 NFC championship game before McCaskey made way for brother George McCaskey.
As The Athletic’s Dan Pompei wrote, McCaskey’s football legacy isn’t a great one. Growing up, I heard his leadership criticized more than I did political names like Daley or Vrdolyak. Any Bears fan who has wandered around with the team during the past three and a half decades will tell you it was deserved.
But Michael McCaskey was also recognized around Halas Hall as a fundamentally decent dude. Lovie Smith’s Twitter thread on McCaskey attests to that.
Baseball’s players and owners haven’t come to agreement yet, but the specifics of MLB’s 67-page safety plan leaked over the weekend. Among some of the guidelines: No mascots, no spitting, no restaurants and ridesharing apps on the road and showering at the stadium will be strongly discouraged. This should all go just great.
There’s still a possibility we haven’t seen the last of the 2019-20 Blackhawks. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reported on Sunday that a plan for a 24-team playoff is picking up steam. The Hawks would make the playoffs in that scenario and it looks like Duncan Keith is ready.
Have a link for Midway Minute? Email me!
• Yoan Moncada had a family scare with coronavirus. (Sun-Times)
• Brett Taylor with a sober and even-handed look at the players vs. owners battle. (Bleacher Nation)
• The last Blackhawks games before the lockdown, as told by the fans who were there. This seems like three years ago, but well done story by Ben Pope. (Sun-Times)
• Should the Blackhawks finally change their goal song? As someone who never really liked Chelsea Dagger, I vote ‘yes.’ (Blackhawk Up)
• One more Blackhawks link: Scott Powers on The Pony Inn. (The Athletic)
• The very definition of “music to my ears.”
Let’s go out and have ourselves a week. As always, thank you for being a #frentofthenewsletter!