The Last Dance debut elicits fodder for future OKC Thunder series

OKC Thunder: Owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan, watches on during their game against the Chicago Bulls . (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder: Owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan, watches on during their game against the Chicago Bulls . (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Last Dance chronicling the sixth and last title of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls debuts in America tonight which got us pondering what an OKC Thunder series would include.

The tension is palpable as fans in the United States count down the hours until “The Last Dance” airs the first two episodes of the series this evening. Sure there isn’t OKC Thunder basketball to watch or any sports for that matter. But, make no mistake this series on Michael Jordan and the final season of the core group of Chicago Bulls who three-peated twice to win six titles was always going to generate mass appeal.

As Ramona Shelburne details this footage has sat for decades awaiting Michael Jordan’s approval to produce it and air it. Unlike most items of this nature gathering dust it’s almost feasible to envision it burning holes on the shelves it sat on.

From an OKC Thunder perspective, there will no doubt be comments within the film from the franchise stars of past and present. The fact the franchise is only 12 years old, however, will preclude any on court footage.

That on its own opens the mind up to what competition with MJ, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman would’ve presented versus the best version of the Thunder. How would Kevin Durant have fared against Pippen? The thought of Russell Westbrook and MJ on one court makes us lick our lips at the prospect of two of arguably the most competitive players ever in the NBA.

Taking that a step further although the Thunder hasn’t climbed the mountain to claim Larry O’B yet it’s easy to imagine some of the segments a documentary on the team would include.

For example, some of the segments which naturally already exist are:

  • How the franchise came to be starting with Hurrican Katrina and that leading to the New Orleans Hornets playing in Oklahoma City. The acceptance from OKC to the team and support of the fan base made them a viable option for a team to come and thrive in this small market.
  • Kevin Durant is selected behind Greg Oden in the NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics (a coup on its own – with far-reaching effects). When Klay Bennett purchases the team the OKC Thunder already has a bonafide superstar on it.
  • Russell Westbrook becomes the first draft pick by the team although he is selected by the SuperSonics he’ll never play a game wearing a Seattle jersey.
  • General Manager Sam Presti drafts three future Most Valuable Players including KD, Russ, and James Harden who along with Serge Ibaka make a run at the title falling to the Heatles when LeBron James wins his first championship.
  • The Harden trade – what really happened? Was it simply a matter of a few dollars? Did Presti and the team prefer Ibaka or was there more to the stories of Harden partying deep into the morning in Miami which made him shrink in the finals?
  • Leading the team who beat the Bulls regular-season 72-10 win total – Golden State Warriors by 3-1 and inexplicably losing three straight games. So much to unravel here. Did – Durant already know he was going to join the Warriors as he’s stated? What did the rest of the roster think while the watched the world implode around them?
  • The defection – as Durant departs in free agency to join the Dubs. Again – lots of fodder here for the series (assuming Westbrook would ever fully discuss what he truly felt).
  • The General Magician – (yes I said, Magician) – Sam Presti.
    • His last minute deals to bring in talent. Sending Ibaka to Orlando for Victor Oladipo thinking at the time he would be joining KD and Westbrook.
    • Then the trade to send Dipo to Indy along with promising rookie Domantas Sabonis to nab Paul George and following it up by trading for Carmelo Anthony.
    • One year removed from the OK3 Presti sends Melo to Atlanta to land Dennis Schroder who grows into a Sixth Man candidate.
    • Two years removed from the PG trade and one year from him re-signing George demands a trade to the Clippers. Even more than the domino effect of what that trade brought back to OKC and the ensuing Westbrook trade is finding out precisely when Sam Presti found out and how the deal really went down.
  • The rise of the Clutch Time Kings in 2019-20 and the re-emergence of Chris Paul as the best leader in the NBA.

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The story is nowhere near complete, but again these topics highlight a very active franchise considering how young it is.

Maybe – just maybe, one day that documentary will be a real thing. In the interim, get your snacks ready and your recording equipment lined up. Episode one of  The Last Dance airs tonight on ESPN at 8:00 p.m. CT  in the United States.

Canadians who aren’t willing to pay for Netflix (raises hand) on top of paying almost $200 a month for cable and internet will have to wait because the powers that be have determined the rest of the world has to wait to view the series – Netflix viewers get to see it tomorrow and others (who pay those exorbitant cable prices – have to wait until April 26th!  Suffice to say – I’m NOT impressed!

Hey, maybe this is MJ’s payback as the Raptors were one of the nine teams to beat the Bulls in their magical 1995-96 season when they lost only 10 games. Only the Pacers beat them twice and the SuperSonics were in that mix of nine teams too.

Next. Thunder – 30 for 30 roundtable compilation. dark

Anyway, enjoy the series as I surf madly to get sneak previews of what I and the rest of Canada will get to see after the fact.