By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
In the ninth episode of “The Last Dance,” Reggie Miller recalls a tale from his very first matchup with Michael Jordan back in 1987. Miller, a rookie, tried to talk some trash to MJ after seeing him struggling in the first half, telling him “You are Michael Jordan? The guy who walks on water?”
Whatever the young Miller had in his mind didn’t work since Jordan went to completely outscore him in the second half. According to Miller, when Jordan was walking off the court he said “don’t ever talk trash to the Black Jesus.”
For generations of people worldwide, Jordan was – and still is- something akin to a deity. A figure that has commanded religious-like worship and adoration, an icon that inspired millions. MJ became a global phenomenon and his impact was correspondingly vast and felt through the whole planet, especially by those who as kids grabbed a ball and dreamt of becoming like him one day.
In light of the showing of “The Last Dance”, Eurohoops asked #23 (yes, the number is far from coincidental) EuroLeague players to discuss their experience from watching the documentary, how it affected them, and the inspiration they drew by getting such an inside look on Michael Jordan’s career, mentality and character.
The 23 players were asked the following questions:
1) Is your impression of Michael Jordan any different after watching The Last Dance?
2) What was the most surprising/shocking/unexpected perhaps thing you watched in The Last Dance?
3) What sort of inspiration do you think that The Last Dance provides for athletes overall and you personally? – What would you tell MJ if you had him in front of you right now?
The list of players is pretty diverse: It includes former EuroLeague MVPs, champions, Final Four MVPs, All-First Team Members and NBAers. There are players who come from different countries and backgrounds, hoopers who witnessed his “His Airness” in all his glory when the greatness was happening, others who first took a taste of it on DVD or a TV special, and some who probably got a serious idea of who he was mainly thanks to YouTube. There’s also someone who wasn’t even three years old when MJ played his last game with the Washington Wizards in 2003.
The factor that connects them? They were all inspired in one way or another by The Last Dance with some admitting that the documentary had a major, immediate effect on them.
The players are presented in alphabetical order.