One thing that is evident throughout The Last Dance is that excellence takes a toll on people. On multiple occasions during the Chicago Bulls’ first three-peat, it’s mentioned that the pressure everyone in the organization was under got to be overwhelming, with Michael Jordan being so mentally exhausted that he left basketball altogether. Their second three-peat didn’t appear to be quite as draining, but everyone operated with the understanding that the 1997-98 campaign would be their last.
This isn’t something that is unique to those Bulls squads. In the years since, we’ve seen teams like the Shaq and Kobe Lakers and the Big Three in Miami show cracks in the foundation due to lofty expectations that led to their groups being broken up. More recently, the NBA’s dominant organization has been the Golden State Warriors, and for the member of the franchise who was also on that second Bulls squad, the doc has served as confirmation of what he’s tried to hammer home to his team over the last few years.
“To be honest, [the documentary] is just confirmation of what I was saying to our team all of last year and 2018,” Steve Kerr said, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN. “The whole messaging for the year was based on my experience with Chicago and feeling that level of fatigue [and] emotional toll that had been over the previous four years. …
“And so watching this now is just a reminder of how difficult it is to sustain that kind of run.”
General manager Bob Myers also spoke to how mentally taxing winning can be, saying that after the team won in 2018 — their third ring in four years and second in a row — there “wasn’t joy” because the team was merely doing what it was supposed to do.
“I’m sure a lot of people felt differently,” Myers said. “It wasn’t anybody’s fault. I think there’s just a weight to everything. And so I’m sure [the Bulls] felt that weight of everything, weight of relationships.”
Kerr is especially interesting to hear from on all things Last Dance, as he is the only person who can approach this from the perspective of someone who has played for and been the head coach of two separate dynasties. He’s already made it clear that we’ll never get this sort of all-access look into his Warriors teams, but it’s still fascinating to hear him draw the parallels between both of his squads.