‘The Last Dance’ Director Reveals Why He Didn’t Want LeBron James In Michael Jordan’s Documentary

Jason Hehir shares his reasoning for not wanting LeBron James to be in ‘The Last Dance’ documentary.

 

 

Jason Hehir directed ‘The Last Dance’ documentary and he recently made an appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast. Hehir was asked about LeBron James not being in the documentary and he explained why he didn’t want the Los Angeles Lakers star to be part of it.

 

“Once you open that door, then you have to have that discussion, and I was never interested in having that discussion,” Hehir said. “… If they (people) were at the bar having this discussion about the GOAT, if they want to cite things that they saw in ‘The Last Dance,’ great, but I never wanted to sit — Because what are you gonna ask LeBron? And you know what he’s going to say. He’s gonna say ‘I admire the guy, I wore 23 because of him, I grew up watching him.’ We’ll show a picture of him wearing Jordans. There’s going to be no surprises there.”

 

 

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Hehir added that they were trying to keep the story in their present tense, which was the 1990s and LeBron was not a part of that. I do get his reasoning here. There was no real value in adding James in there because we all knew what he was going to say and he wasn’t in the league in that 1997-98 season either. 

 

Not having LeBron in it certainly didn’t hurt the documentary. It proved to be a massive hit among fans and even won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series.

 

Michael Jordan Reportedly Gave The Green Light For The Documentary After The Cavs Won The Title In 2016

 

In 1997, NBA Entertainment producer Andy Thompson reportedly pitched the idea of filming Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in what appeared to be the last season together for the group. Jordan agreed to it on the condition that he would have full control over what happened with those tapes and for the longest time, he refused to allow any kind of documentary to be made using them.

 

Then, something changed in Jordan in 2016. When producer Mike Tollin approached him to make the documentary, he gave him the green light. It just so happened that Jordan agreed to go ahead with ‘The Last Dance’ after the 73-9 Warriors lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals.

 

“The universe has such a funny sense of humor,” Tollin told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “Because when I woke up, I put on ESPN while I’m getting dressed, and there’s LeBron [James] and the Cavaliers parading through the streets of Cleveland with the trophy that they’d just won.”

 

Tollin and Jordan met during those celebrations and it has been speculated that seeing LeBron pull off that incredible comeback from down 3-1 was what led to the Bulls icon thinking the documentary had to go out. We’ll never know for sure if that was a big reason behind it, as Jordan would never admit it if it was true.

 

The documentary certainly did grow Jordan’s legend. A whole generation of fans who never saw him play were captivated by his story.

 

Unfortunately, though, a lot of his former teammates weren’t happy with the documentary, most notably Scottie Pippen. In his book, Pippen claimed Jordan couldn’t have been more condescending if he tried and the two former teammates have been at odds with each other ever since the documentary came out.

 

Gideon Canice

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