In a sports starved world, ESPN and Netflix have moved up the premiere date of highly-anticipated Michael Jordon documentary series The Last Dance to April 19 from June 2.
The 10-part series on Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ quest for a sixth NBA Championship in 1998 – produced by Mandalay Sports Media, in association with NBA Entertainment and Jump 23 – wil air on ESPN in the U.S. on Sunday nights over five weeks from April 19 through May 17. It will be available outside of the U.S. on Netflix.
The series, directed by Jason Hehir (The Fab Five, The ’85 Bears, Andre the Giant), chronicles Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls and features never-before-seen footage from the 1997-98 season as the team pursued its sixth NBA championship in eight years.
“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 said in a statement. “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.”
In the fall of 1997, Michael Jordan, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and head coach Phil Jackson agreed to let an NBA Entertainment film crew follow the team all season long. The result would be a remarkable portrait of an iconic player and a celebrated team – a portrait only now being revealed, more than two decades later, in The Last Dance.
As the series weaves its way through the tumultuous 1997-98 season, viewers see Jordan’s childhood roots, the Bulls’ dire circumstances before his arrival and how the team was built after drafting him in 1984, to the struggles that eventually led to the team’s first NBA championship. The series takes the audience through the Bulls’ first five championships and the culture-shifting phenomenon created by Jordan and the Bulls.
There are extensive profiles of Jordan’s key teammates including Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Steve Kerr, head coach Phil Jackson, and dozens of current-day interviews.
“Michael Jordan and the ‘90s Bulls weren’t just sports superstars, they were a global phenomenon,” said director Jason Hehir. “Making ‘The Last Dance’ was an incredible opportunity to explore the extraordinary impact of one man and one team. For nearly three years, we searched far and wide to present the definitive story of an era-defining dynasty and to present these sports heroes as humans. I hope viewers enjoy watching our series as much as we enjoyed the opportunity to make it.”
Immediately following each episode’s linear ESPN premiere, it will be available to authenticated subscribers on the ESPN App via mobile and connected TV devices, ESPN.com and ESPN on Demand via cable, satellite and DMVPD distributors.
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