As many expected, ESPN’s The Last Dance documentary premiered to rave reviews on Sunday night. Never-before-seen footage and interviews exposed viewers to an unlikely villain within the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty of the 1990s.
The documentary revealed Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s sour relationship with Bulls general manager Jerry Krause. Some even speculated that Krause, who died in 2017, served as inspiration for the main villain in Jordan’s iconic film Space Jam.
Comedian Charles Moore pointed out the similarities on Twitter. In the movie, Mr. Swackhammer — voiced by Danny DeVito — owns a fledgling intergalactic theme park named Moron Mountain. Attendance at the park has recently declined, so Swackhammer seeks to enslave Michael Jordan to become his newest attraction. Before targeting Jordan, he steals talent from NBA players around the league in order to challenge Jordan.
Swackhammer’s character is a greedy villain who’d forgone any ethical code to ensure his park’s success. Krause, a former MLB scout, most notably irked Jordan, Pippen, and Bulls fans with the seemingly targeted quote: “players and coaches don’t win championships, organization win championships.”
Given Jordan’s petty tendencies — see the multiple stories that probably won’t make The Last Dance — this theory isn’t hard to believe.
Jordan and Pippen are seen mocking Krause publicly and privately in the documentary’s first episode. Krause became the target for their ire after signing Pippen to a contract for just over $2.5 million per year compared to Jordan’s $33 million. Pippen’s frustrations with the deal nearly led him to leave the team in the 1997-1998 season.
The first two episodes of The Last Dance are available to stream on ESPN’s mobile app. Episodes three and four will premiere next Sunday at 9 PM Eastern Standard Time.
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