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‘The Last Dance’: Jordan’s Issues With Teammates & Gambling

Michael Jordan And 'The Last Dance,' Episodes 5 And 6 Recap Cover

The Last Dance” Episodes 5 and 6 set viewership records for ESPN as an average of 5.5 million people tuned in to view the two episodes.

Overall, the Michael Jordan documentary series has averaged 5.8 million viewers per episode premiere which is 62% more viewers than it’s closest rival “You Don’t Know Bo” in 2012.

The sports world spent the last few weeks mesmerized by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. “The Last Dance” focuses on the 1997-98 Bulls team that won their sixth and final NBA title under head coach Phil Jackson and all-star guard Michael Jordan.

The first few weeks were mainly about the infighting between the team, the management, and locker room issues between individual players like Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen.

‘The Last Dance’ – Episode 5 And 6 Recap

Sunday night, in Episode 5 and 6, might have been the most interesting part of the series. It goes into depth about Jordan’s gambling habits, his complicated history with fighting for social justice, and his driven personality.

Did Michael Jordan have a gambling problem?

Jordan had said before that he “doesn’t have a gambling problem, but a competition problem.” This was apparent when the show revealed that Jordan had to pay off a $57,000 gambling debt to a well-known Chicago hustler name “Slim” Bouler.

Jordan also went to Atlantic City a few times during a playoff series against the New York Knicks which the Bulls were down 2-0, although Jordan says it didn’t affect his play.

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Michael Jordan Criticized for Not Getting Involved In Important Issues

In 1993, Charles Barkley’s “I am not a role model” commercials were a source of controversy.

While Jordan had no such public statement back then, the documentary also touches on his complicated history regarding a lack of involvement in political and social issues.

When a racist North Carolina senator, Jesse Helms, ran against Harvey B. Gantt, a black opponent, many thought Ganttt could have used Jordan’s endorsement. Jordan refused.

Jordan once infamously said, “Republicans buy shoes too.” That statement didn’t sit well at all with many members of the black community. 

Michael Jordan Mentors Kobe Bryant

Although Michael Jordan is a complicated man, his drive and his will to win are straightforward. 

The late Kobe Bryant talked about his relationship with Jordan, which was like a big brother/little brother relationship. Bryant would call Jordan all the time asking for advice.

Jordan Had Issues With Some Of His Teammates

But Jordan could also be petty, as witnessed by his treatment of teammate Toni Kukoc. Jordan and Scottie Pippen both resented Kukoc because GM Jerry Krause liked him and signed him.

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We are finding out throughout this documentary, that as great as Jordan was a player, his people skills weren’t exactly on the same level. 

Remaining Schedule

Episode 7 and 8 of the Last Dance will show next Sunday on ESPN.

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