A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Last Dance is a documentary series that focuses on iconic NBA player Michael Jordan's career and what led to his retirement after the 1997–1998 NBA season. Basketball fans of all ages will be drawn to the show, but it does have some mature content, including a lot of strong language ("f--k" is bleeped), and some conversations address behaviors like insulting people, illegal gambling, and attempted suicide. It also reveals how players deal with racism, poverty, and ageism. There's some footage of people pushing and shoving on the court, cocaine use is referenced, and alcohol and cigar smoking are visible. The Nike logo is prominently featured throughout. Note that two versions exist, one originally shown on ESPN that includes all profanity and one on ESPN2 that bleeps out the words.
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What's the story?
THE LAST DANCE is a four-part documentary about the career of NBA basketball champion Michael Jordan, and why it ended after the 1997–1998 season. Jordan, along with former powerhouse teammates Scottie Pippin and Dennis Rodman, talk about what led up to their careers with the Chicago Bulls, and tell some detailed, behind-the-scenes stories about the experience and why it ended. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf and former Bulls coach Phil Jackson also share their experiences at length. Moving the conversations along is never-before-aired footage of the Bulls during Jordan's final NBA season, and a combination of recent and archived interviews with people like Bulls former general manager Jerry Krause, Golden Gate Warriors coach Steve Kerr, and players' mentors, friends, and family members. It also features conversations with some of the Chicago Bulls' biggest fans, including former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Alongside the personal details, lots of footage of team practices, noteworthy games, and (of course) spectacular plays are included.
Is it any good?
This well-produced and revealing docuseries offers details about what life was like for Michael Jordan and some of the teammates that supported him on and off the court during his tenure with the Chicago Bulls. The players discuss the challenges they faced growing up, what privately motivated them, and the reasons for choices they made throughout their careers. But thanks to the presence of an embedded film crew during the Bulls' tumultuous 1997–1998 season, The Last Dance centers this broader narrative around the turmoil that unfolded during what became Jordan, Scottie Pippin, and Dennis Rodman's final season with the team. This opens the door for owners and former managers to offer their points of view, and offer explanations for their more controversial decisions, many of which were made for the sake of the franchise. Even if you're not a basketball fan, you'll find some interesting details about the lives of some of the USA's most celebrated NBA players, and the pressures they faced despite being at the top of their game. Meanwhile, those who love Michael Jordan will simply revel in the details.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what The Last Dance reveals about the specific challenges NBA players face throughout their careers. What are the expectations placed on them by team management? Why?
What makes Michael Jordan a celebrity? Is it his talent on a basketball court? Or are there other things that make him stand out more than other ball players?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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