Hehir: Jordan's Candidness, Honesty "A Gift From Heaven"

Director Jason Hehir previewed "The Last Dance," which debuts Sunday on ESPN

The DA Show
April 17, 2020 - 11:24 am

If you’re not excited about The Last Dancethe 10-part documentary series about the 1990s Chicago Bulls – then you probably don’t like basketball. Or sports. Or documentaries in general.

But for those eagerly counting down to Sunday at 9 p.m. ET, well, you’re in for a treat. Director Jason Hehir dropped by The DA Show on Friday to discuss the film – how it came about, what went into it, and, yes, the finished product.

“I saw him as this maniacal competitor, win-at-all-costs, caring nothing else about anything except winning that title at the end of the year, having that cigar in his mouth and holding the trophy,” Hehir said, referring to his preconceived notions of Michael Jordan. “I had read the books and I had heard the stories about what a maniacal teammate, a difficult teammate he was, that he was a really tough guy to be around – and that’s the reputation that has followed him. He’s universally admired, but he’s not universally admired for being Mr. Nice Guy. He’s universally admired for being the ultimate winner, the ultimate competitor – the Black Cat, as many people call him.”

As Hehir explained, Jordan was candid and engaging throughout the filming process. Hehir didn’t expect that.

“I was expecting someone who was aloof and over it and just couldn’t care less – and he was the opposite of that,” Hehir said. “He had the power to say ‘You can’t use this’ – and he could wield that power really whenever he wanted to if he truly wanted to do that. He’s Michael Jordan. He could say, ‘You’re not using that clip of me. You’re not asking me this question. I don’t want to go there with this.’ From day one, he was adamant that he was not going to do that. He said, ‘You can ask me anything. I’m going to give you an honest answer.’ As a filmmaker, that’s a gift from heaven.”

The film includes never-before-seen footage from the 1997-98 season  – Jordan’s last as a Bull.

“This footage sees the light of day for the first time on Sunday night,” Hehir said. “The equivalent would be if we dug out Al Capone’s tomb and when we opened the vault Al was sitting there smoking a cigar and going, ‘What do you want to know?’”