A remarkable ten-episode study of Michael Jordan and his championship Chicago Bulls teams – remarkable both for the inside look it offers at professional athletes and the ambivalent picture it provides of the man who offered this access. I was neither a fan nor particular follower of MJ during his career, but this documentary clearly supports the view of him as the greatest basketball player ever and, along with Muhammad Ali, one of the two most internationally recognized athletes ever. At the same time, it shows that he was not a nice person, as most people would define that term. Not evil, but selfish, inconsiderate and egotistical, a bully when it served his purpose. All of which, it could be argued, made him the winner he was.
Ten episodes might seem long, but the filmmakers kept my attention by constantly toggling back-and-forth between the past and the present (the ’86-’87 season, the “last dance”) and by focusing large chunks of episodes on the almost-as-interesting supporting characters: Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc, Phil Jackson and lesser figures such as Steve Kerr and John Paxson. Interviews with media figures, such as the always reliable Bob Costas, provided distance, while shots of MJ smoking cigars and watching interviews of his adversaries on an iPad brought an unusual immediacy to the project. Entertaining and riveting.