It was 1963, in America radios were playing “It’s now or never” by Elvis Presley, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was leading the country and in mid-February in New York the great basketball star Michael Jeffrey Jordan was born.
Today, years later, thanks to the precious material of ESPN and Netflix we are reliving emotions and retracing the 97-98 season of the Chicago Bulls.
The story of an absolute myth, a man who wrote every record, but not only, a team that managed to leave an indelible mark in our memory.
“The Last Dance“, the last dance is a tailor-made dress made for MJ, from music to dialogue, a tour through the golden years of hip-hop, which vaguely coincide both with the beginning of Jordan’s career and the rise to the cultural limelight of the NBA.
Initially, as Jason Hehir, the director of the series himself admits, the idea was to have Kendrick Lamar record all the songs used in the series in a modern key, but the project proved too time-consuming. So the director chose the original music of the time, telling the story of the 80s and 90s and the world where “the Bulls” lived.
The first song on the playlist could only be “Sirius” from “The Alan Parsons Project“, an unforgettable song for all sports fans and especially the Bulls.The love story with this song was born in 1984 when the speaker of the Bulls, Tommy Davis, listened to “Sirius” while he was sitting in a theater waiting for the beginning of a movie. On the way home in a hurry, he stopped to buy the record and rehearsed the line-up with the music in the background all day long.
In a short time, “Sirius” went through Chicago Stadium like an electric shock and, over time, many professional teams from every sport used this beautiful song, in Italy the first to use it was Sassuolo football.
One of the songs that symbolizes the highlights is definitely “I ain’t no joke” by Erik B & Rakim, which fully describes that boy from North Carolina, chosen third in the draft by the Bulls. A rhythm that accompanies every step of the young basketball player who has always done seriously, showing his potential on the field.
To open the documentary was chosen “Been Around the World“, the 1997 Puff Daddy’s song with Mase and B.I.G. is the perfect ally to tell and capture the cultural glamour that the Bulls had achieved in the late nineties.
Rudy Chung, the music supervisor of the series has thought of everything, some songs make the difference like: “The Maestro“, a Beastie Boys song that is halfway between punk rock and rap, but that perfectly describes the chaotic style of play of Dennis Rodman and his colorful public life. Or “How ya like me now” by Kool Moe Dee that accompanies a celebratory sequence after Jordan’s first playoff triumph over the hated Detroit Pistons. The editing of Jordan’s 63-point playoff game against the Celtics in 1985-86 is perfectly synchronized with the percussion boom and the flow of LL Cool J’s “I’m Bad”.
One of the most moving moments in MJ‘s life, however, is when his father’s lifeless body is found. This dramatic event in the documentary produced by Netflix is accompanied by Simon & Garfunkel’s famous “The sound of silence”. A difficult moment to go through even for the strongest athlete of all time who, because of his grief, will decide to retire and end his career early. A choice not made by chance, given the scandals that overwhelmed him, Magic Jordan over the years had some problems with gambling and many journalists tried to hypothesize a correlation between the two events, in fact never experienced before.
From hip-hop – undoubtedly a dominant influence – to rock to RnB, from Notorious B.I.G. to the Beastie Boys, to Janet Jackson, 55 tracks that tell the story of one of the strongest NBA franchises ever. They tell the story of a man like all of us, fragile with his worries, but who hasn’t lost sight of his goal: to be the best ever. A man who retired for the third time definitively in the 2002-03 season, when Eminem dominated the charts with “Lose yourself” and George Bush at the helm of the country, but to whom even today artists like Drake and Future still dedicate pieces like “Jumpman“.