'The Last Dance' Episode 9 Review: 'Black Jesus' Michael Jordan shows why he is heralded as the GOAT
The penultimate chapter of ESPN's scintillating docuseries captures the games leading up to the 1997-98 season. It also captures Jordan's famous pizza game and Steve Kerr's tragic family life
Spoilers for 'The Last Dance' Episode 9
You simply don't mess with Michael Jordan. Indiana Pacers star, Reggie Miller learns that the hard way in Episode 9. As far as trash-talking goes, MJ's iconic phrase still stings Miller: "Don't ever talk trash to Black Jesus." The penultimate chapter of ESPN's scintillating docuseries captures the games leading up to the 1997-98 season. In addition, it also captures Jordan's famous pizza game and Steve Kerr's tragic family life. Nobody knew what was in that pizza, but whatever it was, it didn't deter Jordan from having the last laugh as he played for 44 minutes and scored 38 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals, giving the team a 3-2 series against Utah Jazz. That game has been a topic of discussion for a long time now, and despite the controversies, it was a good ending for Jordan and the Bulls.
Jordan didn't like Bryon Russell, especially after the Jazz star slighted Jordan calling him a quitter. He also added that he could guard the Bulls' legend if he were still playing. At this time, Jordan had retired for the first time and was having his baseball stint. Needless to say, this fired up Jordan who recollects exacting revenge. "He was on my list after that," Jordan said. Perhaps, the biggest highlight was Steve Kerr, who's tragic backstory gets a reveal. Brought up in a background that leaned heavily towards academics, Kerr had a more disciplinary upbringing. He recalls his earlier times with his father, Malcolm Kerr, and then moving to the University of Arizona. In the meantime, Malcolm served as the president at the American University of Beirut. Tragedy befell the family when Malcolm was brutally shot dead in the head by two gunmen posing as students.
The documentary sees the player vividly recall the event. "So, I received a phone call in the middle of the night from a family friend," Kerr recalled as he started to get choked up. "My phone rang at my door at 3 o'clock in the morning, so I knew something was up and he just said 'Steve, I have terrible news.' So, yeah." In many ways, it is fair to say Kerr was one of the unsung heroes of the Bulls team. He had modeled his game after the mentoring from John Paxson. It was an episode that highlighted two things— Jordan's response to slights was by playing harder than ever, and Kerr was a man with the heart of a warrior. The episode set up what can probably be called the most epic finale after nine thrilling chapters.
'The Last Dance' is set to air on Netflix soon.