• Kendall Lanier

How "The Last Dance" Changed My Perspective on Michael Jordan

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

After watching NBA basketball star's documentary, I have gained further insight into Michael Jordan's resilient mindset.

With the absence of the NBA Playoffs which kicks off the beginning of the summer for many, basketball fans were left with a void. However, Michael Jordan’s recent documentary “The Last Dance” occupied fans time for five weeks. Growing up, I looked at NBA Basketball star LeBron James as the greatest. I remember watching “The Decision” on TV of James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in 2010 and seeing how big that was for his career. James dominated the game wherever he went and still does with the Los Angeles Lakers.

For a majority of Generation Z, when the discussion came up of who was the “GOAT”, Michael Jordan or LeBron James, it was hard to say because there would not be much context behind the answer since the Jordan era was before our time. Now after watching the documentary, we can bring more clarity to our responses. The similarities I see between James and Jordan is their larger than life persona. This is their ability to be bigger than basketball and withstand a lasting legacy by even impacting someone who has never picked up a basketball.

After watching the documentary, I told my parents I wished I had lived during the Jordan era because he was treated like such an icon. That’s why his global attention was so vast. He created a brand of who he was and the popularity he gained from his shoes helped too. Jordan had the ability to be locked in and focused long before he even stepped on the court. He would arrive at the arena on a mission to play his best and win the game, not entertain the fans or joke around with people on the sideline. His drive was so different which is what set him apart as a player. You also can’t mention Jordan without bringing up his strong leadership skills. He took on more responsibility than just being a player on the team, but also a coach in some ways. If you were not getting it done in practice, he would tell you. He carried the team as his own and pushed each player to do their best.

For me, that is what made the documentary so intriguing. Having the ability to be a good basketball player is one thing, but the mental part is another. Showing up game after game and doing what’s needed to carry your team to success is what made Jordan a legend. He had the mindset that nothing and no one will stand in his way. This mindset can be put into any aspect of life which is why he was able to impact so many. That is what makes today’s basketball stars legends. The ability to captivate audiences further than just the people sitting in the arena is a special skill. For example, LeBron James’s “More than an Athlete” and Kobe Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality”. It’s who they are as a person that contributes to their success as an athlete.

One of the things in Jordan’s career that I really admired, was when he made the choice to retire from basketball and give baseball a try. He received so much scrutiny, hate, and negativity, but he didn’t care. In the documentary, he says "I can care less what people do, this is what I want to do. I’m not doing what they think I should be doing." All that hate just pushed him to want to do even better in baseball. He was going to find a way to make it happen. Trusting your instincts regardless of anyone else’s opinions is how everyone should desire to live their life. “The Last Dance” documentary changed my perspective on how I see Jordan as both a player and a person. While it is too difficult to say who is a better player, Jordan or James, after watching the documentary, it is clear that Jordan has laid the blueprint for athletes to come.