ABC/ESPN is moving up the release of its 10-part Michael Jordan documentary, “The Last Dance,” to April 19, ESPN and Netflix announced Tuesday. It originally was set for June, before the coronavirus pandemic put the sports world on hold.
Sports fans have implored ABC/ESPN on social media to move up the release date with little live sports programming available.
“The Last Dance” follows the Bulls’ final championship season of the Jordan era, in 1997-98. A film crew had complete access to the team during the title run. ESPN is working on the series with Netflix, Jordan, the NBA and Mandalay Sports Media.
Fans haven’t been the only ones pining for the early release. Lakers star LeBron James told ESPN’s “Road Tippin” podcast last week that there’s no better time to air the series.
”If they release that thing right now? The views on it?” he said. “Listen, if I’m Michael Jordan, I’m going in there and I’m making a conference call and I’m like, ‘OK, what’s the reason that we’re going to hold on to it until June now? Compared to now when everybody is at home?’ Because it’s done [being edited]. It’s done. Yeah, it’s done.”
On March 17, Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president of programming and scheduling, had said the documentary wasn’t ready.
“The reality is that the production of that film has not yet been completed, so we are limited there at the moment,” Magnus said. “Obviously, you can’t air it until it’s done.”
In the two weeks since, something obviously changed.