RECAP | THE LAST DANCE EP.01
Here at SUBTYPE, we’re pretty on trend, with our ear to the ground and a vocabulary ever expanding as we constantly need to describe things cool as hell. The team’s love for Netflix’s latest show The Last Dance is no exception. That’s why we’ve enlisted young hot-shot Charlie Bidgood from the frontlines of the shop floor to share his views on the hit new series. If you haven’t visited our impressive Melbourne boutique and experienced Charlie’s infectious energy, then you’re missing out. With a passion for every topic of the world we obsess with including vintage clothing, retro sneakers, hip-hop and basketball, he’s the perfect voice to recap our thoughts on The Last Dance.
“But Charlie, everyone is watching The Last Dance?” I hear you comment section and to that I say yes… BUT, no one else is doing a weekly recap about the outfits, storylines, and Jerry Krause waistlines of the show. All three of these themes are covered in immense detail in episode one of this gripping series.
One of the aspects that is most important to touch on coming from the first episode is that Michael Jordan – His Royal Airness, the G.O.A.T, potentially the best athlete EVER regardless of sport – has completely forgotten how to dress himself in the ensuing years since he left basketball behind him. Early in the episode, the reigning champion Bulls team go to France on a strange amalgamation of a victory lap, a pre-season tour and an opportunity for MJ to show off how little French he speaks. This Paris preseason tour showed that MJ was cruising around in a beret with the composure of a man that was born at the top of the Eiffel Tower, could dress for any occasion, and set a high sartorial benchmark for the rest of his life. Fast forward to a present-day scene with MJ talking to the camera from some luxurious loungeroom and there seems to be a correlation between the size of his clothes and the size of his fame. The bigger the baller the bigger the blazer. He’s rocking oversized jeans, and not in the cool way that people are wearing them now, in the way that they look like he stole them from Yao Ming. He’s got his paw around a classy glass of scotch, a true gourmand in the whiskey department, but can’t realise he’s wearing a shirt the size of a flag. Michael’s outfits started off amazingly and then within five minutes the narrative switched.
I work at a boutique, so it’s natural that despite my love of anything to do with basketball, my eyes gravitate to the outfit. The first impression I get is the contrast between his eras. MJ rocked a tracksuit on many occasions during his playing career, and even in retirement, so the fact that he chose to do one of the biggest media appearances in his life wearing The Gap’s biggest t-shirt ever and a pair of JNCO jeans is a slap in the face to ESPN.
For the most part, the rewind following this preseason segment and an excellent portion recapping the legacy that MJ made for himself in the previous 12 seasons, gave us a great illumination on the villain in the story - Jerry Krause. A former baseball-scout-come-power-hungry-basketball-executive, he built his title defence not around defending the title, but instead trying to rebuild a team that won 69 games and a championship the year before. I’m a Phoenix Suns fan and we’ve been “rebuilding” since 2011, so I know better than most, rebuilding can be… bumpy. If I was a Bulls fan and heard that my team management wanted to restructure the team with the greatest player ever playing at an MVP level, I would be furious. Then throw in winning 69 games in a regular season – a feat the Suns have yet to achieve – I would riot!
Krause made it clear that he thought there would be no issue making a better team because “organisations win championships, not players.” Well Jerry, let me speak for everyone here when I say a head coach is a pretty key part of an organisation. You seem to think that perhaps the best coach ever is easy to move on from. Now Jerry, if this were true, I would ask if you had a suitable replacement to fill this 6’8” hole in the organisation. Ah, you want to replace him with a college coach that only won a little more than half of his games while coaching at college. It seems you maybe have some more digging to do. Jerry Krause is also a perfect villain, in the way that Dr Eggman is a perfect villain. He’s a strangely shaped, angry man and I cannot wait to see the tensions reach an explosive climax at some point over the progression of the season.
In addition of the outfits and hating the villainy of Krause, my personal highlight of the episode was the amazing depth that was given to Jordan’s time at UNC. We see him rise from Freshman rookie to the best player on the team within two weeks all while sporting those crispy blue and white Converse Pro Leather’s. Seeing the final climactic seconds of the 1982 NCAA championship game filled me with so much internal tension that I questioned whether the Tar Heels could even win the game. Let the record show that I have watched said match twice in the past year. That’s how good they build the excitement throughout the episode.
During his first years in the league the audience was given a few pieces of information that were seemingly new details in the legacy of Jordan. I’m sure that everyone watching was surprised when the tabloids called the 1984-85 Bulls the “Cocaine Train Bulls.” Imagine being good enough to be heralded for your play in the NBA. You win Rookie of the Year and accept the award in a suit so amazing it spawned one of the best Jordan colourways years later. You make the leap from college basketball to the NBA, all while dealing with teammates that had a better nose for a good time than they did for doing their job as elite athletes. I think you deserve to be praised for forgiveness off the court as much as your achievements on it.
This episode gave us some great early insight into the narratives that will circle the series in upcoming episodes while delivering enough new lore to satiate the thirst of all basketball fans watching with bated breath. In the upcoming episodes I have expectations of some crazy Dennis Rodman moments in front of the camera, maybe even appearing via satellite uplink from North Korea. Jerry Krause getting rolled out of a press conference like Violet Beauregard in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But, most importantly, a look into the mind of a man doing things on the court that only he had done before, all the while seeing the clock tick towards his own redundancy enforced by the incompetency of the organisation that thought he was replaceable.