The final episodes of “The Last Dance” have aired, yet ESPN has one more program to show about the Bulls’ sixth championship.
ESPN will show “Game 6: The Movie” on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. Chicago time, following a rebroadcast of episodes nine and 10 of “The Last Dance.” The episode will feature game footage captured by five NBA Entertainment cameras and marks the first time that the game has been available to watch in high-definition.
The Bulls defeated the Utah Jazz 87–86 as Michael Jordan hit the game-winning basket with 5.2 seconds remaining to cap their sixth championship in eight seasons.
Executive Producer Gregg Winik — who was a cameraman for NBA Entertainment during that Bulls championship season — said the brainstorming about Game 6 started by compiling the last 40 seconds of the game for the final episode of “The Last Dance”. After they were able to do that, it started to expand into a project of its own. Winik and his team then took the NBC telecast and started to lay in footage to get the complete product.
“If you would have told me six months ago if we could have done this, I would have said it was impossible,” Winik said. “It features a lot of dramatic imagery and the pictures jump off the screen.”
High definition was still in its infancy in 1998. In fact, the first major sports event to be broadcast in high definition didn’t happen until Super Bowl XXXIV in January 2000.
Connor Schell, ESPN’s executive vice president for content, said there were conversations about showing the original NBC broadcast, until discussions revolved around an enhanced presentation.
“It was timed out beautifully and how quick we were able to get it on the air,” Schell said. “To top off this project with this never-seen-before version of Game 6 is an incredible ending.”
The film will feature the original NBC commentary by Bob Costas, Isiah Thomas, Doug Collins, Ahmad Rashad and Jim Gray.
According to Nielsen and ESPN, the first six episodes of “The Last Dance” has averaged 12.2 million viewers. That includes all airings, as well as video on demand and DVR recordings.