News   |    July 21st, 2021

THE LAST DANCE

I have just finished watching one of the best sports documentaries I have ever seen. The Last Dance (now on Netflix) traces the career of USA basketball player Michel Jordan.

I have never had any interest whatsoever in basketball apart the occasions I have been in a USA bar where you can’t fail to watch it on the array of screens that seem to be all around you.

His skill level was incredible, and he regularly scored over 40% of the total score made by his team – the Chicago Bulls. More than that he appeared at times to be superhuman with an inner strength and determination that all world class sportsmen possess. He had the ability to demand that same level of determination from his teammates. This made him unpopular with some, but they always had the upmost respect for him, and it is true to say that without Jordan Chicago Bulls would never had been the success story there were when he was there.

I had heard of Jordan but because basketball understandably receives only limited coverage in this country, I had no idea what a superstar he was in the USA and elsewhere in the world where basketball is popular. Who would imagine that Jordan’s teammate Denis Rodman, for example, would become such a close friend of Kim Jong Un the North Korean leader!

His magnetism and personality on the small screen was palpable. His determination to win was unmatched and in one match he dragged his team to victory despite suffering from acute food poisoning. He elevated the sport’s relationship between populism and commercialism to a new level.

What Jordan did for his sport was unbelievable. He motivated his fellow players to be a mirror image of him and develop into superstars. Almost overnight the players became brands and he opened up players to a world of untold riches they could only have dreamed about in the years before his arrival.

As a high-profile black sportsman and role model, you may have expected him to press the case for justice and equality, but he never had much to say on the subject. Maybe it was because he was a truly successful man at the head of his own multi-million-dollar business empire.

What the programme highlights is that he was not just an elite sportsman he was an intelligent and successful businessman. In truth he actually joined the establishment and positioned himself right within it.

He regularly said, “I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying’. That is true for all young sportsmen looking to reach the top of their profession and I guarantee this is a documentary that will entertain and inspire you from one of the greatest sportsmen of all time.

For more information, please contact enquiries@integralsportsmanagement.co.uk

Peter Varney - Chairman, Integral Sports Management

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