ESPN recently announced they had moved the releasing date of Michael Jordan’s documentary ‘The Last Dance’ from June 2 to April 19. The decision came after plenty of fans and several players, including LeBron James, asked the world-renowned media platform to move things up as fans are missing basketball after the NBA suspended the 2019/20 season almost a month ago due to the coronavirus outbreak.
As expected, this announcement caused a lot of hype around the NBA world and people can’t wait to finally see the 10-part docuseries which will show behind the scenes looks at Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 90s, when the team won six titles, shared in two three-peats.
However, according to former ESPN employee Bill Simmons, this documentary was something unthinkable during his time with the giant media platform. Simmons, who is the current CEO of the Ringer, joined Colin Cowherd at FS1’s ‘The Herd’ to discuss a variety of topics. One of the most interesting things he said, though, was how MJ didn’t look interested in making that documentary until LeBron James’ legacy started getting bigger.
“We [ESPN] tried to do it [a Jordan documentary] after we finished the first "30 for 30" series when we had everything going in 2009,” Simmons said. “We knew about this documentary that NBA Entertainment had. You know, they had filmed his whole season. They had all this behind the scenes stuff. So we got a copy of it, and we watched it. And the behind the scenes stuff, it was the real Jordan. It was the homicidally competitive Jordan, the guy yelling at his teammates. It was all the stuff we had always heard of but never seen. And we were just like, how do we get this made?”
He claimed that it wasn’t until the mid-2010s that Jordan realized LeBron was getting closer to him in the GOAT conversation, something that changed his mind.
“Jordan never wanted it, and I think what happened, middle of the (2010s) decade, especially when LeBron won that Cavs title, when things really started to shift and all of a sudden there was an MJ vs. LeBron argument. I think for the first time, Jordan and his camp realized, ‘Oh, we gotta protect our legacy here,’” Simmons added. “People are starting to forget how great and famous and how universally everyone thought, who was there, this is the best basketball player I’m ever going to see. And I still feel that way.”
Talking about Jordan is talking about greatness and that’s exactly what we’re going to see next April 19. Simmons was one of the main responsible for the start of the ‘30 for 30’ series, and he believes one of the biggest reasons why MJ gave the ‘go-ahead’ to the documentary was the fact that he was worried about the big number of fans that believe LeBron, not him, is the greatest player of all time.