Michael Jordan's Agent Falk Explains Why MJ Finally Agreed to 'The Last Dance'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2020

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 8:  Michael Jordan #23 and Scottie Pippen #33 of the Chicago Bulls huddle together against the Charlotte Hornets on May 8, 1998 at Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice:  Copyright 1998 NBAE (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
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David Falk, the agent for Michael Jordan throughout his playing career, said Tuesday the six-time NBA champion finally gave the green light for The Last Dance documentary about the 1990s Chicago Bulls because "he wanted to see the story told."

Falk discussed the documentary on ESPN's SportsCenter ahead of the final two episodes Sunday:

"There's people who surmise that maybe, while he will never succumb to comparisons with Kobe [Bryant] or LeBron [James] or Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] or Bill Russell or anyone else, when you watch this doc—and I'm very biased because Michael is my friend—if you are not legally blind and you watch this 10 hours and don't realize this is the greatest player of all time, you should probably start watching roller derby. His approach, his concentration, his devotion [are] unparalleled."

The 10-part series has showcased both the incredible competitive fire that drove Jordan to the forefront of the "greatest of all time" conversation and the off-court pressure that led him into a brief retirement after the Bulls' first three-peat ended in 1993.

Last Sunday's episodes highlighted why Jordan may have been hesitant to clear the documentary. They detailed a fight in practice with teammate Steve Kerr, now the Golden State Warriors' head coach, and provided behind-the-scenes footage of him taking verbal shots at other teammates, mostly Scott Burrell.

MJ was asked in Episode 7 about whether his drive to become the best meant sacrificing the "nice guy" label. He provided an emotional response that brought him near tears before he asked for a break in the interview (h/t Richard Deitsch of The Athletic):

"Look, winning has a price. And leadership has a price. So I pulled people along when they didn't want to be pulled. I challenged people when they didn't want to be challenged. And I earned that right because my teammates who came after me didn't endure all the things that I endured. Once you joined the team, you lived at a certain standard that I played the game. And I wasn't going to take any less. Now if that means I had to go in there and get in your ass a little bit, then I did that. You ask all my teammates. The one thing about Michael Jordan was he never asked me to do something that he didn't f--king do.

"When people see this they are going say, 'Well he wasn't really a nice guy. He may have been a tyrant.' Well, that's you. Because you never won anything. I wanted to win, but I wanted them to win to be a part of that as well. Look, I don't have to do this. I am only doing it because it is who I am. That's how I played the game. That was my mentality. If you don't want to play that way, don't play that way."

It's unclear what the final two episodes will show Sunday as the Bulls make the push to their sixth and final championship in 1998. But the documentary as a whole has painted Jordan in a positive light given the immense pressure of being a basketball superstar and a global icon.

Falk noted on SportsCenter he's been "mildly surprised" by the emotion his Hall of Fame client has shown throughout the series, but the agent added Jordan has never been afraid to get criticized, which is one of the reasons the documentary was allowed to move forward.