Jordan’s Vault Unlocked: MJ Releases Hidden ‘Last Dance’ Film after 18 Years

Behind-the-scenes details of ESPN’s new documentary “The Last Dance” are emerging, and the decision to make the film rested with Michael Jordan himself.
18 Years in the Making: MJ's Unveiling of 'The Last Dance' Footage-007 - srody.com

NBA Entertainment shot most of the documentary’s footage over the course of the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls season – which before it began, was expected to be Jordan’s last with the team. However, then-NBA Entertainment head Adam Silver agreed to let Jordan control what happened with the content.
18 Years in the Making: MJ's Unveiling of 'The Last Dance' Footage-007 - srody.com

“Our agreement will be that neither one of us can use this footage without the other’s permission,” Silver told Jordan, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “Worst-case scenario,” Silver told Jordan, “you’ll have the greatest set of home movies for your kids ever created.”

18 Years in the Making: MJ's Unveiling of 'The Last Dance' Footage-007 - srody.com

Despite attempts by Hollywood heavyweights Spike Lee and Danny DeVito to get the film made at some point, the footage remained locked away at the NBA’s Secaucus, New Jersey, office until 2016. That’s when Mike Tollin, who produced movies such as “Coach Carter” and TV shows like “Smallville” secured a meeting with Jordan.
18 Years in the Making: MJ's Unveiling of 'The Last Dance' Footage-007 - srody.com

Tollin met with Jordan in Charlotte the same day the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrated their 2016 NBA title, according to Shelburne. In the meeting, Jordan noted Tollin had worked on the 2014 documentary “Iverson” about the former NBA star.
18 Years in the Making: MJ's Unveiling of 'The Last Dance' Footage-007 - srody.com

“I watched that thing three times,” Jordan is said to have told Tollin. “Made me cry. Love that little guy.”

Jordan then apparently walked around the desk, extended his hand and said, “Let’s do it.”

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