The flaws being exposed from ‘The Last Dance’
The first two installments of “The Last Dance” earned near-universal acclaim, but the documentary isn’t flawless.
Shortly after the initial airing of the film on Sunday night focusing on the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s, the ESPN production has already had to make edits, following the revelation of factual errors and misleading information.
In one graphic displaying the standings during the 1985-86 season, the Wizards are listed as the sixth place team in the Eastern Conference. However, Washington was still known as the Bullets, only changing their name in 1997.
ESPN told NBC Sports Washington it was an “error” that would be fixed in re-airs.
The more problematic issue arises during the re-telling of Jordan’s injury-plagued second season, when the reigning Rookie of the Year was placed on a minutes restriction after returning late in the season from a broken foot. In the film, it is suggested that Jordan was limited to playing 14 minutes per game, until the playoffs began. However, Jordan only played 14 minutes of fewer in his first two games back from injury. In his seventh game back he played 22 minutes. By his 11th game, he was up to 31 minutes. In the penultimate regular season game, Jordan logged 37 minutes.
During the scene in which the Bulls fight for a playoff spot in 1986, a story is told of how Chicago needed to win a game against the Pacers to secure a playoff spot, culminating with Jordan stuck on the bench for the final possession due to the minutes restriction and teammate John Paxson saving the season with a game-winner. However, after that win — in which Jordan played 28 minutes — the Bulls still had to win three of their next four games before edging out the Cavaliers for the No. 8 seed.
The Bulls ended up losing in the first round to the Celtics, who the film states featured four Hall of Famers. However, the eventual champions actually had five players who would be enshrined: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Bill Walton and Dennis Johnson.
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