Ken Burns Blasts ‘The Last Dance’ Says Michael Jordan Had Too Much Control

Whether you are a fan of professional basketball or not, Michael Jordan and the ’90s Chicago Bulls NBA team are undoubtedly ingrained into your brain. If you’re of a certain age, you might even recall seeing Jordan play. If not, you certainly still understand the lore of one of the best basketball players of all time.

Now, without any active sports amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, ESPN has teamed up with Netflix for The Last Dance. The 10-part docu-series explores the careers of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, coach Phil Jackson, and the 1997-1998 Bulls team.

In never-before-seen footage, the team gave unprecedented access to a film crew starting in the fall of 1997 to follow their quest to win their sixth NBA Championship in eight years. The film is already getting rave review, but one prolific filmmaker is less than impressed.

‘Then Last Dance’ is currently the biggest documentary in the world

Just a few weeks ago, it seems like everyone on earth was talking about Netflix’s Tiger King. However, that’s changed drastically with The Last Dance. Amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, director Jason Hehir was tasked with rushing to complete the film when the release date was moved from June 2020 to April 2020.

It appears that this gamble paid off. “The Last Dance was one of the 20 most in-demand shows in the world this week,” according to Parrot Analytics. For Hehir, who has admired Jordan for his entire life, it was a dream come true.

“Michael, good luck trying to get him to talk about whether or not he thinks that he’s the greatest of all time, because he immediately deflects it and talks about the people who came before him,” the filmmaker told Esquire.

‘The Last Dance’ might be biased

In order to get The Last Dance made, Hier got his hands on the footage from the 1997-1998 Bulls season, and he convinced Jordan, who rarely gives interviews to give the OK. However, the billionaire also got input with regards to what did and did not go into the film. Now, four parts in, some people are convinced The Last Dance is biased.

For example, in 1991, the Bulls swept their nemeses the Detroit Pistons. Though Isiah Thomas is present in the documentary to discuss the Pistons walking off the court during the Eastern Conference, the documentary leaves out a quote from Jordan denouncing the entire Pistons team. “The Pistons are undeserving champions,” Jordan said on the day between Games 3 and 4 in Detroit in 1991. “The Bad Boys are bad for basketball.” Thomas said this was the quote that led to the walk-off.

Though we still have several parts left, Jordan’s gambling obsession is only vaguely highlighted, his personal life with his ex-wife Juanita Jordan has not come to light at all, and we’ve all but skipped his baseball career.

Ken Burns has denounced ‘The Last Dance’

Ken Burns who is known for his prolific documentaries like The Civil War and Jazz denounced The Last Dance. Burns said he would not watch it since Jordan had so much control and input in the film. Burns said it was something he would have “never, never, never, never” agreed to as a filmmaker.

“I find it the opposite direction of where we need to be going,” Burns told The Wall Street Journal. “If you are there influencing the very fact of it getting made it means that certain aspects that you don’t necessarily want in aren’t going to be in, period. And that’s not the way you do good journalism … and it’s certainly not the way you do good history, my business.”