Every year I tend to read 50-60 books and watch a similar amount of documentaries. I like having a broad knowledge, even if it’s a mile wide and only an inch deep. I think much of that comes from the numerous years in my life I spent working in bars. I a previous era, when it was still allowed to drink behind the bar. When a true “bar culture” still existed and when bartenders were entertainers. Giving the guests a great time, while they paid for overpriced drinks.entertaining was the name of the job and often that meant being able to hold a decent conversation on pretty much any current, and also random, topic.
Truth though is that even as a pre-teen I had this insatiable hunger for knowledge. On rainy Wednesday afternoons when there were no school classes, I could often be found on my bed surrounded by multiple tomes of the Dutch encyclopedia. Grabbing yet another tome was “hyper linking” before hyperlinks.
My main preference of literature are “founder stories”, mostly because they contain a huge amount of battlefield stories which is both incredibly inspiring but also full of wisdom and can help one make decisions in life. But I also have a weak spot for sports (auto)biographies and even the stories of music artists.
While both sports and music biographies often tend to be rather romanticized, I still tend to find inspiration in the stories of their hardship during their career and how they came back. Pretty much every successful athlete had at some time to deal with a severe injury or life setback. While it’s the daily drive which makes them, the best often come back stronger after hardship.
The Last Dance
As slowly but surely my eyesight has improved in recent months, in recent weeks I have been able to watch some documentaries again. I was finally able to catch up with everything everyone binge watched during lockdown and I couldn’t watch. Everything with slow moving images at least.
And the much lauded “The Last Dance” about Michael Jordan’s six title with the Chicago Bulls.
I haven’t watched the full series yet, I’m only five episodes in and the romanticization of the documentary — Michael Jordan personally supervised the editing — is obvious. Many thousands words have since been written about Jordan’s single drive and obsession with winning, yet while that aspect is omnipresent throughout the series, MJ still comes off as a rather relaxed and agreeable, amicable even person.
Pretty much the opposite of the bully and narcissist his critics wish to paint him. If The Last Dance had been directed by Alex Gibney, the series — and opinion people have of Michael Jordan after watching — would undoubtedly be totally different. Then again, Gibney often tends to be a man on mission and that mission is almost as often a hatchet job.
So far I have liked the format of the series, with the multiple flashbacks to both Jordan’s early years and also previous seasons, I have found the focus on the last season — aptly titled by coach Phil Jackson “The Last Dance” — rather weak.
In some sense, so far, The Last Dance hasn’t gflt different than reading Anthony Kiedis’ “Scar Tissue” or Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s “I am Zlatan”. All three rather light on actual facts and with a high level of polish. Of course, Jordan doesn’t need much myth making as he is one of very few who truly deserve the moniker “legend” but the degree of polish is high.
Much which has been written about The Last Dance revolves around Jordan’s so-said brutal character. Also a possible — yet denied — fall out with Scottie Pippen. One thing I didn’t read about is the excellent soundtrack of The Last Dance. The series brings the viewer pretty much a best of the best of 80s and 90s hip-hop, featuring Run D.M.C, A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, and many more. A Spotify user created the “The Last Dance” playlist and its almost four hours of great hip-hop nostalgia.
Should I Watch It?
While The Last Dance won an Emmy, personally I do not think that the series is worthy a true recommendation. It’s way too polished, but if you have 10 hours spare in your life and don’t need to waste them on Hive watch it if you’re looking for some light entertainment and love sports heroes. I love sports too much not to continue watching the second half of the series. But I would definitely recommend you invest those hours in Babylon Berlin instead.