On Sunday night, ESPN is going to release their highly anticipated 10-part documentary “The Last Dance”, which looks to cement Michael Jordan’s legacy as the greatest of all-time.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne the NBA had filmed the Bulls 97-98 season and had the stored the film away for years waiting for Michael Jordan’s approval to use it because of a promise made by Adam Silver.
“Our agreement will be that neither one of us can use this footage without the other’s permission,” Silver told Jordan. “It will be kept — I mean literally it was physical film — as a separate part of our Secaucus [New Jersey] library. Our producers won’t have access to it. It will only be used with your permission.”
Eventually, Producer Mike Tollin and several ESPN reps were finally able to secure a meeting with Jordan to get his approval for the doc.
Over the next few months, the conversations continued. Tollin sketched out a proposal of what an eight-episode series might look like. Finally, in June 2016, a meeting was set with Jordan, now owner of the Charlotte Hornets.
“He was preparing for the draft; they knew he’d be there in Charlotte,” Tollin recalled. “They knew he hated meetings, so they said, ‘Why don’t you come and just hang out with us. There will be a break in the action between meetings, and we’ll get some time with him?'”
Apparently the same day Jordan agreed to give the go-ahead for the doc was the same day LeBron and the Cavs held their championship parade in Cleveland.
“The universe has such a funny sense of humor,” Tollin said. “Because when I woke up, I put on ESPN while I’m getting dressed, and there’s LeBron [James] and the Cavaliers parading through the streets of Cleveland with the trophy that they’d just won.”
He headed over to Jordan’s office at the Hornets’ arena, hoping he would get a chance to present the lookbook he had made. No one had ever gotten this close before. But Portnoy and Polk could only open the door. Tollin had to close Jordan.
Fans found it funny that Jordan decided to do the doc on the same day as the Cavs championship parade.