- The final episode of “The Last Dance” – ESPN’s 10-part documentary series about Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls – detailed the legendary team’s disbandment.
- After winning their sixth championship in eight years, Jordan and the other major contributors to those Bulls victories parted ways with the franchise.
- Head coach Phil Jackson organised one final meeting for the legendary squad, and His Airness surprised everyone by writing a heartfelt poem for his teammates.
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Michael Jordan may have been hard on his teammates on the court, but his parting words for his legendary Chicago Bulls team were as thoughtful and compassionate as they come.
The final episode of “The Last Dance” – ESPN’s 10-part documentary series about Jordan and the 1997-98 Bulls – detailed His Airness’ journey to his sixth NBA championship in eight years and his subsequent decision to part ways with the franchise that shaped his legacy.
Bulls head coach Phil Jackson revealed in the final minutes of the documentary that he organised one final meeting for that 1997-98 Chicago squad as an act of closure before the major players all went their separate ways.
“My wife had gotten a masters in social work and she was part of a group that went in to help people who are grieving,” Jackson said. “One of the things they did was a ritual in which they kind of put things to rest.”
The legendary coach – who won a combined 11 NBA championships while at the helm of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers – encouraged the members of the Bulls team from his final run in Chicago to “write what being on this team has meant to you during this year” and share it at that last meeting.
“I remember there was a team meeting with Phil and it was like, ‘This is it,'” Steve Kerr said. “He says ‘This is it, this is the last dance, this is the last time we’re ever going to be together.'”
“Every guy had emotional words to say,” he added.
Jordan, Jackson and Kerr recalled, had written a poem to capture his feelings in his final moments as a Bull. And, apparently, His Airness’ words struck a cord with those on hand to hear them.
“We saw him as this bully sometimes,” Kerr said. “But that day he showed his compassion and empathy for all of us.”
“It was a depth of emotion that you never thought that he had,” Jackson added.
Still, Jordan downplayed it all while reflecting on the moment in a sit-down interview for the series.
“I’m not a poet,” Jordan said. “I just spoke what I felt at the time.”
Following that meeting, the major contributors to the Bulls dynasty scattered. Jackson took a year off from coaching before returning to the league with the Los Angeles Lakers. Jordan retired for the second time, only to come back for the Washington Wizards a few years later. Scottie Pippen took his talents to Houston to join the Rockets. Dennis Rodman joined Jackson in Los Angeles, and Kerr went on to win yet another championship – this time with the San Antonio Spurs – in 1999.
“We were always going to be bonded,” Jordan said. “You say ‘Thanks for the past, enjoy the moment, let’s make sure we end it right.'”
After everyone finished speaking, the players placed their papers in a coffee can. Then Jackson shut off the lights and set the contents aflame to end the meeting.
“One of the most powerful things that I’ve ever seen,” Kerr said.
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