His Airness might actually be His Unfairness.
ESPN’s “The Last Dance” wrapped up on Sunday, and the 10-part series did a great job at painting Michael Jordan in a mythological light — but apparently a less-than-good job at telling the truth, according to “The Jordan Rules” author and “The Last Dance” commentator Sam Smith.
Smith, who was given airtime at various points during the series, called Jordan’s claim that the Bulls would have reunited for one more season following their 1997-98 championship run “a complete and blatant lie.”
“There were several things in the documentary that I saw, I would know, that (Jordan) made up or he lied about,” Smith said in an interview with Bonta, Steiny and Guru of 95.7 The Game. “They weren’t major things, but it was like when a TV movie comes on and they say, ‘This is based on a true story.’ That’s what that was. It was based on a true story.”
Smith said the idea that players might reunite for one more season was hogwash, in so many words, and that the producers “had the outlines” of the events but the details were a bit murky.
He also said the infamous Pizza Game/Flu Game/Food Poisoning Game story — in which Jordan and his trainer alluded to a late-night snack potentially being poisoned — was “complete nonsense,” adding that Jordan was certainly sick but it wasn’t from the pizza (or a hangover).
The series wasn’t without its flaws, and as Smith notes in the interview, the docuseries was a “Michael Jordan hagiography” more than it was a revelatory or investigative documentary surrounding the Jordan-era Bulls. Since its conclusion, Smith, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant and Pizza Hut employees have all either called into question Jordan’s veracity or the portrayals of one another during the doc.
While the legend of Jordan certainly grew throughout “The Last Dance,” maybe we are now further from the truth than we wanted to be.
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