Over the last several weeks since the NBA shut down — along with most other sports leagues and the majority of the world — due to the threat of the COVID 19, or coronavirus, pandemic, we’ve all been looking for things to watch on TV.
One of the most popular requests during that time has been for ESPN to release “The Last Dance,” it’s 10-hour docuseries about the final season that Michael Jordan spent with the Chicago Bulls. It was originally slated to come out in June — centered around the NBA Finals — but obviously in terms of when people have more time to watch it, when just about everyone is home quarantined might be more convenient at this point. Not to mention more attention grabbing in a world where we’re all starved for sports content to distract us.
Lakers star LeBron James feels the same way, and he made the argument to ESPN during his appearance on the “Road Trippin” podcast earlier this week (via ESPN):
”If they release that thing right now? The views on it?” James said. “Listen, if I’m Michael Jordan, I’m going in there and I’m making a conference call and I’m like, ‘OK, what’s the reason that we’re going to hold on to it until June now? Compared to now when everybody is at home?’ Because it’s done [being edited]. It’s done. Yeah, it’s done.”
So yeah, LeBron is looking for stuff to binge-watch at home, too. Professional athletes, they’re just like us!
But despite James’ assurances that the series is done, that may not actually be the case, according to Burke Magnus, ESPN’s executive vice president, programming and scheduling:
Bad news. Doesn't look like ESPN will move up release of 'The Last Dance' Michael Jordan Bulls doc: 'The reality is that the production of that film has not yet been completed, so we are limited there at the moment. Obviously, you can’t air it until it’s done,' says Burke Magnus.— Michael McCarthy (@MMcCarthyREV) March 17, 2020
That’s a bit of a bummer, but also understandable when considering the documentary wasn’t supposed to be released for several more months. That said, all hope for an earlier release may not be lost, as Awful Announcing did pick up that ESPN has changed the promo for the doc to say “coming soon” instead of June 2, so even if it isn’t done, we may get it sooner than the original schedule.
For now, here is a trailer for what should be an unforgettable binge-watching experience for basketball fans, and here is a list of streaming options, books and podcasts to check out during quarantine.
And while these aren’t on the above list, I personally have recently been binging “Succession” (HBO) and “Tiger King” (Netflix), two very fun TV shows for very different reasons. What are you watching while we wait for the NBA to return and/or ESPN to release “The Last Dance,” basketball or non-basketball? Let me know in the comments below, because I think I can speak for all of us when I say we’re all looking for recommendations.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.