SportsCentury Michael Jordan (ESPN)
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ESPN produced this film after Michael Jordan finished his final and heavily scrutinized stint in the NBA in 2003. SportsCentury does an impeccable job portraying Jordan’s career and personal life from the critical standpoint of the media’s perspective. After watching, the audience gains stories they’ve never heard before from the people who had a front-row view of the action.
SportsCentury Michael Jordan: For instance, the media protected the five-time NBA MVP more than they would like to admit. Jordan once asked beat reporters to avoid writing about the birth of his first child because it was before he married the baby’s mother. The reporters obeyed his wishes.
And once you burned Michael, there was no going back. Sports Illustrated ran a cover story implying Michael was an embarrassment to baseball when he played for the minor leagues. Jordan never gave a comment to the magazine again (at the time the documentary aired in 2003).
The movie depicts a fearful Jordan, one who was very image-conscious and lived in terror of “slipping up.” It further emphasizes his competitive nature—how he would bet on just about everything, was caught cheating his teammate’s mother in cards and how he wouldn’t speak to UNC former assistant coach Roy Williams for two days after he beat Jordan in a game of pool. But there’s also another side to the man, the myth and the legend. Jordan once tracked down a journalist to offer his condolences on her mother’s passing in the midst of a media frenzy.
Michael Jordan’s ESPN SportsCentury documentary is an interesting depiction of MJ’s influence on society and culture not only in the U.S. but also on the international stage.