ESPN announced Tuesday a mammoth 10-hour documentary about the only figure in sports worthy of such an obsessive deep dive: Michael Jordan.
The Last Dance is scheduled to arrive on ESPN and Netflix in 2019, but the trailer is here now.
The doc will "follow Jordan's stunning rise during the 1990s, the success of the Chicago Bulls and the simultaneous increase in popularity for the NBA," according to The Hollywood Reporter. Director Jason Hehir figures to take a similar approach to the one he took in making Andre the Giant, the recently released documentary about the wrestling icon. That means lots of archival footage and plenty of probing interviews.
There is of course one obvious difference between Hehir's two subjects: Jordan is still alive. And he's reportedly signed on to be a part of the production.
That seems, at first blush, to be a good thing. Hearing from Jordan, a famously private public figure, could only be a good thing. But if the filmmakers are worried about maintaining their access, things could go wrong.
For example, a 10-hour doc on Jordan's life and legacy has to include a deep-dive into his hiatus to play baseball. Jordan has long maintained that he played baseball because it was the dream of his father, who was tragically killed in at a rest stop in North Carolina. With Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf also owning the White Sox, the transition was easy.
But for years, people have speculated that that was a cover story. Jordan was actually suspended for gambling, the conspiracy theory goes, and rather than tarnish the legacy of its biggest star, the NBA allowed Jordan to concoct a wild cover up.
Speaking of cover ups, there's another Jordan mystery that we're hoping The Last Dance solves. This one is about his famed "flu game," which might not have been a "flu game" at all.
Jordan's old trainer says he was intentionally poisoned prior to Game 5 of the 1997 Finals against the Jazz. Tim Grover told TrueHoop TV in 2013 that Jordan ordered a pizza prior to the game and a suspicious pack of delivery men brought the pie to His Airness' Utah hotel room.
I take the pizza and I tell them: "I've got a bad feeling about this. ... I've just got a bad feeling about this."
Out of everybody in the room, [MJ] was the only one who ate. Nobody else had it.
And then 2 o'clock in the morning I get a call to my room. Come to the room. He's curled up in the fetal position. We're looking at him, finding the team physician at that time.
Immediately I told him it's food poisoning.
Others, including former NBA star Jalen Rose, have suggested the so-called "flu game" was actually a hangover game. Hopefully The Last Dance has a some answers.