Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, December 30, 2019

The Last Dance

The Last Dance
by rick olivares

Recently, there was this trailer for a 10-part documentary series titled, The Last Dance. It is about the sixth championship season of the Chicago Bulls in 1997-98. That documentary is supposed to premier sometime in 2020.

I have noticed in the last couple of years all this renewed love for Michael Jordan while this Greatest Player of All Time debate with LeBron James on the opposite side rages on. And true enough, we will see a lot of new interviews with key figures during that era. 

I have previously written about that GOAT debate and do not see the need to discuss that again because my arguments have not changed. 

I will say this though… in about 10 years or so…. LeBron James will get a lot of praise. He will not overtake Michael Jordan as the GOAT. There is this video on YouTube that specifically zeroes in on Michael Jordan’s two-year stint with the Washington Wizards and while that club never made the play-offs, MJ’s stats were even better than many of today’s stars. And how old was Michael during that time? How long was his lay-off from competitive basketball? The results are astounding.

As for LeBron… even as a fan of the King, I think that not only does he need to win more titles to even be in that same sentence as Jordan. However, I am sure that in a decade or so, James will be celebrated. 

Back to The Last Dance. I have DVDs and books about the Bulls from their pre-title days to that fateful season. I have all the books and magazines too. Yet, I do know that for that entire NBA season, a camera crew followed the Chicago Bulls everywhere and recorded a lot of footage with a lot that many will not be able to see. I am even sure that lot of that footage will end up in the cutting room for this 10-part series. That doesn’t change the fact that I am excited for this. It revisits a totally different era when hand checking was allowed and the least of your worries.

Speaking of cutting table. How come in that trailer, Toni Kukoc was nowhere to be seen? Ditto with players like Luc Longley?

I remember Bulls forward Jud Buechler saying in one of those interviews from that season that 25 years from that title run, everyone will know where each one is. And maybe so. That was a special team. Coaches included. And they had some colorful coaches during their ride from Phil Jackson himself to Johnny Bach to Tex Winter. And hopefully, they do show where each and everyone one of those Bulls is now.

Lest someone say that I am living in yesterday, let me just say that I do enjoy today’s NBA or even international basketball. While in the last two seasons, I gravitated back to my childhood team of the Philadelphia 76ers, I still follow the Chicago Bulls. They do have an interesting line-up as well.

Furthermore, there have been a lot of interesting storylines that sprung up in the wake of The Last Dance. The Los Angeles Lakers. LeBron in Cleveland. The Decision. The Miami Heat. The rise of the Golden State Warriors. The San Antonio Spurs’ success. And there’s more.

But in terms of drama factor and controversy, it is the Kobe Bryant Lakers and LeBron James that will make for interesting documentaries 20 years from now. But that’s for later… The Last Dance is on deck. And that’s some of the best sports news in this old year of 2019. 

When my column returns in the new year, we will hand out our traditional Brewskies Awards.

Thanks for reading. Happy New Year, everyone!

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