One major thing I took away from watching Episodes one and two of “The Last Dance” on ESPN on Sunday night was that I truly miss the Michael Jordan era.

I am a massive basketball fan, an NBA fan through and through, and if I am being quite honest, today’s game does not have the same feel that it did in the 90’s and although I respect every athlete that  plays the game today, the 21st Century game does not hold a candle to the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s.

Growing up in Canada and playing a number of sports from a very young age, I fell in love with basketball in my driveway as it was one of the only sports that could be played and practised without another person.  Shooting hoops until the sun was too low in the sky to see the basket was a common occurrence throughout the spring and summer months.  Once I was of age to play organized basketball at my elementary school, I jumped at the chance.  I was one of the taller, more athletic kids on my team in grades five through eight, and I really started to excel by the end of my grade eight year.  By Grade 10 (1989), I was no longer a tall kid by any stretch of the imagination.  I became a shooting guard because I had a solid outside shot, and the speed to role off of screens and hit open jumpers anywhere from 15 feet.

My increasingly growing love for basketball was largely due to Michael Jordan.  With MJ making his presence felt in Chicago and throughout the NBA upon his entrance into the league, he was the source of all hope for many kids just starting out in the game.  Dreams started to formulate as every kid started to play a little more intense and jump a little higher and a little farther…everyone wanted to be like Mike.  That was me.

I was lucky to have the opportunity to watch MJ play live two times during my high school years – one exhibition game prior to the Raptors even being a glimmer in the MLSE’s eye and then one more time during the Raptors inaugural season when they played Damon Stoudamire and the Raps at the Skydome (man, that was an awful venue to watch a basketball game).

As a Michael Jordan enthusiast, watching “The Last Dance” has brought me back to a very happy and stress-free time in my life.  Yes, it is only two episodes, but the detail, the story and the transition from storyline to storyline has been remarkable thus far.  I completely forgot that Scottie Pippen was grossly underpaid, I forgot how agitating Jerry Krause was (I was happy to see the players taking digs at him throughout the two episodes), I forgot how much I loved John Paxson as “my game” was most relatable to his, and how much I loved the Bulls uniforms of that time.  There was just something about them…could have been the person or people wearing them I suppose.

One thing is for sure, if the remaining eight episodes are as good as the first two, and I can’t see how they won’t be with so many stories within the team itself let alone the club to be told, there will be many awards on the horizon for the group or talented people that put this documentary series together.  It is captivating and riveting television, which is exactly what the doctor ordered at this point in time.

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