Monday, May 18, 2020

Checkout Why Michael Jordan Doesn't Score A Slam Dunk In the Documentary "The Last Dance."

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In The Documentary The Last Dance Michael Jordan's Legacy Is Examined From Contrasting Even Contrarian Perspectives
Michael Jordan Credits Wikipedia (left) And ESPN (Right)

By JV Howard

While inundated by information overload on COVID19 and the subsequent fallout I find myself searching for an escape that did not involve life and death.  Reading "Lost in the Appalachian Trail," watching Miles Davis on Netflix, following Roland Martin on YouTube, and viewing The Last Dance on ESPN are few options I employ to mitigate my imposed shelter in place.

While being Lost on the Appalachian trail offered a virtual chance of not being found by COVID-19 in reality there is nothing more sobering than taking a  nostalgic look back at Miles Davis. His rendition of Ascenseur Pour - an innovative  sound track - with no orchestra, producer, or conductor was stunning, so much so, i purchase the sound track. But at some point reality beckons and all that awaits - enter Roland Martin candid streaming of news void of spin - uncut and truthfully.  Yet, its my love of the game of basketball that made the Last Dance a welcome retreat.    

Many of life’s metaphors and lessons can be found not in just work we do but in the games we play. If football is a game of inches then virology is the study of molecular behavior.  How often are we reminded of the gargantuan significance  of the smallest common denominator having a profound impact on the results we chase, the games we play, and the life we live…or die.

During this period when all sports have acquiesced to COVID - 19 mandate “The Last Dance” rings loud and clear as the behind the scene insight divulges just how mine field laden the road to stardom and greatness challenges. 

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The  Last Dance  premiere offered an ironic option to juxtapose the GOAT (greatest of all time)  and the (WORST OF ALL TIMES) in leadership.  Micheal Jordan hyper competitiveness was infectious (this may be a poor choice of words here) and underscored a calorific spirit that burned teammates, opponents, and the status quo of his prime.  A criteria of being a GOAT is to repeatedly master the challenges before you; the big shot, the big game, the controversy, the fallibility, and the unselfishness of self aggrandizement.

Keep in mine a crisis is a condition of instability and Micheal, with tenacity, took it upon himself to represent the symbolic Bull on his jersey, the number on his back, and the persona of an alpha. Night after night against the best of the world it was the Bulls that were the last team standing - think 72- 10 one season.

Even when Chicago needed a break through against their arch enemy Bad Boys Detroit Piston, after numerous setbacks, Micheal willed - like organic leaders do - the Bulls to a resounding victory that knocked the Piston not only out of their championship run but also out of competitive character - by not shaking hands. It was a classic case of the agony of defeat and a gross violation of the Geneva convention of sports.

While Micheal epitomized the GOAT in the game we play nothing reveals more - of a leader - than the gut check of a crisis in the life we live. Crisis defined: a condition of instability or danger, as in social, economic, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change…ie. “GAME CHANGER.”

As i took in some things new and revelatory about the Chicago Bulls behind the scenes look I wondered if the appropriate criteria for the WORST of all times is the same, but conversely, of the GOAT. What if you failed, repeatedly, to master the challenges you swore an oath to uphold; national security, domestic stability, economic prosperity, and LIFE and liberty, then you are a poor leader.

If you fail to to stem the tide of a raging pandemic, miscarriage the resources at your disposal, then you are clearly a candidate for the WOAT (Worst of all time).

For sake of context consider the example of Nelson Mandela (GOAT) who as the consummate national leader of South Africa changed hearts, enriched souls, and transformed minds to revolutionized an entire nation mired in apartheid. He - Nelson Mandel and his nemesis - Robert DeKlerk - were awarded, not coveted like someone we know, the Nobel Peace Prize as a testament to genuine leadership, guardianship, and stewardship.

He was a great moral hero who inspired the South African Rugby Team win the world cup. A measure of man to champion… much like Muhammad Ali.

In getting back to the Last Dance Micheal was with his faults like we are all. While gambling being one, I am not judging the man, but I do take issue with his failure to support Harvey Gantt during his election effort to unseat a known nemesis of African Americans - Jesse Helms. To rationalize that republicans buy shoes too was really an empty answer.

A pretext to stay disengaged from deploying his clout for political gain but not commerce. He disavowed the too much that is given much is required rule of success.

I was disappointed he didn’t walk this back saying he would handle it differently today, in lieu of maintaining his capitalist cop, out. While Republicans purchased his $250 sneakers black kids were killing each other for them. If there is a dark side to hyper competition, it the lack of empathy. He missed his mark on this one.

So let’s stick to the court where the mark is made.

The Olympics was an exciting undertaking given the number of real all stars to play. One all star, regardless of my dislike who didn’t make it - Isiah Thomas - was surrounded by controversy.

Despite the revelation that Mike had nothing to do with it i find hard to fathom. Mike is an extremely competitive soul and took offense when Isiah Thomas opted out of being a true competitor by not shaking his hand after the Chicago sweep.

I truly wonder if the Detroit Piston coach - Chuck Daly - was alive would he bless the account that Mike had nothing to do with it. I am not sure. If you remember Mike did ask the question when first approached about the Olympics; whose going?

The Last Dance closing was anti-climatic in my opinion.  However, it served my entertainment needs during a pandemic and not a -- self help expose to be great.

Strange afterwards i got the feeling i was in the same place (wide world of sports) at the same time (times of greatness) for the same thing (to witness greatness personified)...

...Ali, Kareem Jabbar, Pele, Jackie Robinson, Jesses Owens, Doug Williams, Major Taylor, Secretariat and others. GOAT or WOAT, who are you at this time during a raging pandemic?

Are you at your best, worst, or are you taking the time to be still or walk the Appalachian trail, watch the documentary "I am not your Negro by James Baldwin," or follow the serenade of Miles Davis’s trumpet?  Whatever your retreat involves don’t let it be your Last Dance, stay safe, be smart, wash your hands, wear a mask, acknowledge each other.

If you are chasing greatness be the best you can you be - you are closer than you think!

The article ideas expressed are those of freelance Op-Ed Writer JV Howard and may not be totally reflective of Scoop publications.  You can reach JV Howard at:

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Posted by community events coordinator, Nzinga Lonstein Austin, is a prolific blogger who writes on the entertainment industry and issues for people with developmental and physical challenges.

She is presently in high school looking to have a career in video, film, and media. You can see more of her entertainment writing on Lonstein Movies.

About the Black News Scoop - covers national and global news focused on reporting insightful, and empowering news for the international Black Community.

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