NBA fans, young and old, love anything that has to do with Michael Jordan. There's something about MJ that attracts people to him. It's always been that way, from his playing days to today.
In 2020, the documentary The Last Dance came out and took the world by storm. Fans adored the 10-part series chronicling Michael Jordan and his career.
The documentary mainly focused on the 1997-98 NBA season, which was famously dubbed The Last Dance by Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson. This documentary won a Primetime Emmy, and it is a great documentary. But what if I told you there's a better documentary on the G.O.A.T.
In 1990, a documentary mixed with a fictionalized story was released that featured Michael Jordan. This documentary was titled Michael Jordan's Playground.
Come Fly With Michael Jordan On His Playground
Michael Jordan immediately became the most popular player in the league once drafted. His high-flying play mesmerized fans. People in high places also recognized Jordan's popularity, and this led to documentaries about the NBA star.
In 1989, a documentary titled Michael Jordan: Come Fly With Me came out, which drove fans wild. To see highlights of their favorite player brought great joy to fans.
At this time, there was no internet, no YouTube to watch clips of Michael Jordan or any other player. So, to get a documentary showcasing these highlights was big.
The following year after the Come Fly With Me documentary came out, but there was a twist to it. The Come Fly With Me documentary showcased highlights and a young Jordan talking about his life story, which was entertaining.
Michael Jordan's Playground was produced differently than Come Fly With Me. Playground not only showcased more Michael Jordan highlights while explaining his backstory, but there was another story in the documentary.
In Playground, there's the story of a young kid named Walt who is trying out for his high school basketball team. Like the real-life Jordan, Walt is cut from the team, and it hurts Walt deeply as it did Jordan.
After tryouts are over, Walt finds himself on a street basketball court, practicing his skills. While he practices, he complains to himself about being cut from the high school team.
Walt takes a shot, and he misses. The ball bounces off the rim and rolls on the court. Then, a foot that is wearing J's stomps on the ball to stop it. The camera pans up, and we see His Airness.
Jordan helps Walt build confidence while highlights of Jordan's skills are shown. This includes showing clips of Jordan's killer mentality when the game is on the line and his rivalry with the Detroit Pistons and their “Jordan Rules”.
The story continues with more highlights and more lessons from Jordan. Then, Jordan and Walt finish with a quick game of one-on-one (we don't see who wins).
After Walt's inspiring play with Michael Jordan on MJ's playground, Walt tryouts for his high school team again the following year. This time, Walt makes the team.
After Walt makes the team, the sight of Michael Jordan dancing as the hip-hop group Full Force sings can make anyone laugh. This is because Jordan's dance moves are atrocious.
Jordan's dance partners, Christopher Reid and Christopher Martin, who were famously known as Kid and Play, dance incredibly alongside MJ, which makes Jordan's dance moves even more hilarious.
To go along with Jordan dancing, the documentary showcases bloopers from Jordan and his co-stars. This documentary felt more like a movie than just a normal documentary.
The reason for this can be attributed to the director, Zack Snyder. Yes, the same director who went on to direct the films Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Watchmen.
Michael Jordan's Playground is so good that it not only landed at the number one spot on Bleacher Report's best Michael Jordan documentaries list, but Tracy McGrady recently mentioned that a young Kobe Bryant would watch Michael Jordan's Playground:
“I stayed with him and his parents back when I was 18 years old," McGrady said. “All he did was watch these tapes, whether it’s karate flicks, Michael Jordan, home and grown movies like 'Come Play With Me,' 'Come Fly With Me,' 'Playground.' He loved Karate flicks. Just to be around that and go through his career and what he became, just an icon and such an inspiration to a generation of people.”
As you can see, Michael Jordan and his documentaries touched many people, including top basketball stars. If you haven't watched Michael Jordan's Playground yet, then what are you waiting for?
If it was good enough for Kobe Bryant to watch, then I'd say lace up those J's, grab your ball, and take a trip to Michael Jordan's Playground.