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'The Last Dance' shows Michael Jordan's humanity, says director

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
'The Last Dance' shows Michael Jordan's humanity, says director
"The Last Dance" director Jason Hehir said he aims to show Michael Jordan's humanity in the 10-part docuseries on the Chicago Bulls
Courtesy of Netflix

MANILA, Philippines — Michael Jordan has been compared to many things during his illustrious basketball career.

With his immense skill on the hardcourt, and his down-right competitiveness and physicality, Jordan has been described as something more than an average basketball player.

"Greatest Of All Time", "Superhuman", and even "God" (at least according to Boston Celtics great Larry Bird), Jordan has had a lot of monikers attributed to his name.

But Jason Hehir, director of Chicago Bulls documentary "The Last Dance", wants to show another side of Jordan that you may or may not know about.

A side that makes Jordan, with his six NBA championship rings and league MVP awards, just like you and me — human.

"It's the most important aspect in telling a story to humanize somebody," Hehir told Philippine media in a conference call on Wednesday.

"The best art makes you think 'that person is just like me'... makes you identify with the person," he added.

The filmmaker admitted it was a struggle to make Jordan seem relatable to the viewers, especially since he himself saw the 57-year-old as someone bigger than everyone around him.

"It may be the biggest challenge of my career to make Michael Jordan human, because in many ways he is superhuman and he existed as a figment of my imagination as a kid," he said.

The director, however, remained focused on his goal of showing the imperfections of the basketball legend — aiming to help the viewers learn more about Jordan off the basketball court.

"If all we do is mythologize him and show his encored exploits, and the only image you have of Michael is in a Bull's uniform, winning championships, then it's not gonna change your view of him... you won't have learned anything," Hehir said.

"But if you're entertained and you're educated about what kind of person he is, then that makes for a fulfilling viewing experience," he added.

Perhaps more than the earlier episodes, the latest release in the documentary — its sixth episode overall — showed the most vulnerable side of Jordan.

Tackling issues like Jordan's alleged gambling problem and his treatment of teammates, Jordan seemed less than perfect than what people had perceived him to be.

Showing the good and the bad, Hehir said, was integral in making the documentary.

"I want the viewers to see Michael as a human being. We are all flawed. Nobody is perfect and that includes Michael Jordan," he said.

Hehir explained that it was important to him to humanize not only Jordan, but also every other character involved in the story of the Chicago Bulls Dynasty.

"We're gonna tell the good and we're gonna tell the bad. We're gonna tell the glorious and we're gonna tell the challenging," Hehir said.

"It was very important to me that we address every facet of what he (Jordan) faced from 1984 to 1998 while he was in Chicago," he added.

"The Last Dance", which can be streamed by Filipino fans on Netflix, has already released six episodes out of the 10 total.

Two new episodes premier every Monday in Manila. Episodes seven and eight are set to come out locally on May 11.

MICHAEL JORDAN

THE LAST DANCE

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