ESPN's upcoming Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance, would have been hyped up to nearly unbelievable levels in the best of times. Right now, with all sports on hold in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic, it may very well be the most-watched ESPN documentary of all time by the time it's all said and done. I'd even consider that likely.
Ahead of Sunday's debut episode, Ramona Shelburne penned a tell-all piece explaining just how the documentary came to be. It's filled with a ton of interesting tidbits; Adam Silver, now the commissioner, was the man in charge of convincing Jordan and Phil Jackson to allow a film crew access to the team's 1997-98 season, and only convinced Jordan because he told MJ the footage would only be used if both parties agreed to. The person who pitched the idea in the first place is Andy Thompson, Mychal Thompson's younger brother and Klay's uncle. The footage has been kept as an ESPN secret in their Seacacus video library for nearly 20 years. Jordan now needs reading glasses.
It's chock-full of good stuff, and you should definitely read the whole thing to get even more excited for tomorrow night. But by far the best new piece of information came when Shelburne listed all the producers who learned about the footage and proposed they were the right person for the job of creating what would become The Last Dance. Spike Lee, naturally was listed. Legendary producer Frank Marshall threw his hat in the ring. So did Danny DeVito! From Shelburne:
"Every few years a producer would come along, pitching himself as the right person to make the documentary. Frank Marshall, Spike Lee, even actor Danny DeVito gave it a whirl. According to Jordan's longtime business partner, Curtis Polk, none of them ever even made it to a face-to-face meeting with Jordan."- Ramona Shelburne
DeVito is a basketball fan and has had a hand in producing a lot of films over the years, and I'm sure he would have done a good job if he had been successful in his endeavor to put together 10 hours of Jordan's final season in Chicago.
It's just extremely difficult to imagine DeVito, who will always be Frank Reynolds to a large segment of the population, putting on his director's hat for a Jordan doc. Although we could all use an egg in this trying time, that's for sure.