The documentary looking at Michael Jordan’s last championship season with the Chicago Bulls is set for release nearly two months sooner than expected with no sports to air due to the coronavirus pandemic.
ESPN and Netflix announced on Tuesday that the 10-part documentary series called “The Last Dance” will air next month will run in the U.S. over five consecutive Sunday nights starting April 19 and running through May 17. There will be two hour-long episodes on each of those nights, airing back-to-back at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern.
ESPN was originally planning to release the documentary in June, when this season’s NBA Finals were to be played but those plans were accelerated.
“April 19th can’t come fast enough. I CAN NOT WAIT!!” Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James tweeted upon hearing news of the series’ long-awaited release.
The series will include never-before-seen footage from that season, one where the team chased its sixth championship in a span of eight years.
“As society navigates this time without live sports, viewers are still looking to the sports world to escape and enjoy a collective experience,” ESPN said in a statement. “We’ve heard the calls from fans asking us to move up the release date for this series, and we’re happy to announce that we’ve been able to accelerate the production schedule to do just that.”
The documentary is nearly a quarter-century in the making. It was born in the fall of 1997 when Jordan, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and coach Phil Jackson allowed an NBA Entertainment film crew permission to follow the team all season.
ESPN said the series includes “extensive profiles of Jordan’s key teammates including Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Steve Kerr,” along with Jackson.
“Michael Jordan and the ‘90s Bulls weren't just sports superstars, they were a global phenomenon,” said Jason Hehir, who directed the series. “... For nearly three years, we searched far and wide to present the definitive story of an era-defining dynasty and to present these sports heroes as humans.”
The series will air in the U.S. on ESPN and internationally on Netflix. Subscribers on Netflix can view two new episodes on each Monday from April 20 through May 18, all of them dropping those days at 3:01 a.m. Eastern time.