If you’re wondering why Michael Jordan is making headlines again -- 22 years after his final season with the Chicago Bulls -- it’s because the basketball legend is the subject of ESPN’s highly-anticipated documentary The Last Dance. Director Jason Hehir’s 10-part series will look back on Jordan’s entire career while chronicling the Bulls’ efforts to win a sixth NBA title during the 1997-98 season.
While critics and fans alike have been abuzz about The Last Dance for months, clamor for the docuseries reached a fevered pitch following Jordan’s emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant during the late basketball player’s memorial, Space Jam’s debut on Netflix in March, and the suspension of the current NBA season in the wake of multiple players testing positive for COVID-19 and subsequent orders to shelter in place during the coronavirus outbreak across the U.S.
The latter left a huge impact on the ESPN network, which suddenly went from live sports coverage of basketball as well as hockey, soccer and other events to re-airing classic games to fill the time. “As society navigates this time without live sports, viewers are still looking to the sports world to escape and enjoy a collective experience. We’ve heard the calls from fans asking us to move up the release date for this series, and we’re happy to announce that we’ve been able to accelerate the production schedule to do just that,” ESPN shared, when announcing the premiere of the documentary had been moved from June to April.
“This project celebrates one of the greatest players and dynasties ever, and we hope it can serve as a unifying entertainment experience to fill the role that sports often play in our lives, telling a story that will captivate everyone, not just sports fans,” the network continued.
Now, fans have The Last Dance -- and not since the 2016 debut of O.J.: Made in America has there been an anticipated or must-watch TV event as this. Ahead of its premiere, here’s everything to know:
What the Series Is About: According to ESPN, “every chapter of Jordan’s career is covered, from his rise as a high school star in North Carolina, to his breakout with the 1982 national champion Tar Heels, to his emergence as a phenomenon in the NBA, and worldwide marketing force and cultural figure.” That reflection will parallel his achievements with the Bulls and the events leading up to what coach Phil Jackson calls “The Last Dance.” The series will chronicle the all-star team’s 1997-98 season as they fought to go out on top in their last season together.
Who Is Featured in the Series: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, Phil Jackson, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Bob Costas, Bill Clinton, Justin Timberlake, Carmen Electra, Nas, Barack Obama and more.
Watch the Trailer:
When ‘The Last Dance’ Will Debut on ESPN: The first two hour-long episodes will premiere Sunday, April 19 starting at 9 p.m. ET. (The second episode starts at 10 p.m. ET.)
How to Watch and Premiere Schedule: Each episode of the series will exclusively debut on ESPN before immediately becoming available to subscribers of the ESPN App, ESPN.com and ESPN on Demand. The air dates are as follows:
Sunday, April 26: Episode 3 at 9 p.m. ET; episode 4 at 10 p.m. ET
Sunday, May 3: Episode 5 at 9 p.m. ET; episode 6 at 10 p.m. ET
Sunday, May 10: Episode 7 at 9 p.m. ET; episode 8 at 10 p.m. ET
Sunday, May 17: Episode 9 at 9 p.m. ET; episode 10 at 10 p.m. ET
Viewers outside of the U.S. can watch the series on Netflix starting Monday, April 20 at 12:01 a.m. PT. The remaining episodes will debut in pairs the four following Mondays, with parts nine and 10 arriving May 18.