By Joe Hiti
The third and fourth installment of the last dance focuses on Dennis Rodman and my all-time favorite basketball team, the Bad Boy Pistons. Also touched on is how Phil Jackson came into power and his new techniques he used while coaching the team of the 90’s.
Dennis Rodman was a massive part of the Detroit Pistons championship run in the late 80’s and later a key player in the Bulls second three-peat of the decade. His tenacious defense and ability to rebound the ball helped him win two championships with the Pistons and a Defensive player of the year award.
When the Bulls acquired Rodman in 1995, Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson did not want him. They had played against him while he was still a core player of the Pistons and had taken a beating from the physical creature they called “the Worm.”
We also get a look into the mind of Phil Jackson and his time spent coaching in Puerto Rico’s National Superior Basketball league. We also see how his integration of the Triangle Offense helped push the Bulls over the Pistons and to their first championship in 1991.
The bounce back and forth from the Bulls in the early 90’s to their last season in 1998 really shows you how much each member of the franchise had changed over the course of a decade.
For instance, Michael Jordan talks about how he didn’t like Phil Jackson at first because he was taking the ball out of his hands, but in 1998 he had “married” himself to Phil Jackson as a coach. Rodman in 1988 had normal hair and was a quiet kid, in 1998 he needed that famous Vegas vacation. The juxtaposition of both sides is what makes this series great.
This documentary encapsulates the competitiveness of this bygone era of basketball. It shows how players today still hate players they lost to back in that era. As a basketball fan who can never experience that type of basketball, this is exactly what I would want from a documentary of the time gone by.
One of the hardest things to do in basketball is to compare players from different eras, but let me say this, if today’s superstars played in the 80’s against Detroit and Chicago, they may not be playing in the league anymore.
The NBA during the 90’s had a different feel than it does now. Being able to watch this documentary lets you feel what it was like, and not just on the court. The camera shows off shots of MJ’s long suits as he signs autographs post-game or clips of Rodman partying in Las Vegas with Carmen Electra.
This documentary is so well put together with interviews from everyone and anyone you could think of, the soundtrack and that awesome reaction of Michael Jordan listening to Isiah Thomas explain the famous Piston walk off and saying how he still hates them gets me excited for next week.
These quotes that stood out as what best described this era of basketball and also a few about the genius that is Dennis Rodman:
“He [Dennis Rodman] was one of those players who changed the game just with his presence,” Gary Payton
“Back then you could sit there and beat people up,” Dennis Rodman
“If your gonna hit em, hit em,” John Sally
“Dennis was one of the smartest players I played with,” Michael Jordan