In the final episode of the documentary series “The Last Dance”, Michael Jordan confides that he would have signed with both hands for a new season in Chicago after the title of 1998. But the dismantling of the team had unfortunately been decided from the beginning of the season.
That’s also what you recognize a champion for. He may have been elected five times MVP of the regular season, but he may have won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, but Michael Jordan still regrets, twenty years later, not going to hunt a seventh ring.
In the latest episode of the documentary series “The Last Dance”, available since this Monday in France on Netflix, the legendary number 23 says indeed deplores the dismantling of the superb bulls team – retirement of Jordan himself, departures of coach Jackson, Pippen, Rodman, Kerr – after the title of 1998. A dismantling planned from the beginning of the season by general manager Jerry Krause, who no longer wanted to work with the current coach and offer big salaries to aging players.
“Not even being able to try is something I don’t accept”
“If you asked all the guys who won in ’98: ‘We’re giving you a one-year contract to try to win a seventh title, you sign?’ Yes, they would have signed, Jordan believes. Would I have signed for another year? Yes, I would have signed for another year.”
For according to the “GOAT” (the “greatest of all time”), a retention of Phil Jackson on the bench would have triggered a domino effect. “We would have had to convince Pip (to accept a modest salary for his status), but if Phil had continued, if Dennis (Rodman) had stayed, and if MJ (Jordan) had stayed to win a seventh title, Pip would never have missed that.”
Jordan, who considers himself to have been at his peak during that famous 1997-98 season, is not happy to have left Illinois on a sixth coronation. “It’s just infuriating,” he sighs. Because I really felt like we could win a seventh. I sincerely believe that. Maybe we wouldn’t have succeeded, but not even being able to try is something I don’t accept.”