• "The Last Dance" director Jason Hehir said the 10-part documentary wasn't just about Michael Jordan
  • The veteran director pointed out that "The Last Dance" was about "the pursuit of greatness and price of greatness"
  • Hehir said Jordan never pressured him into cutting scenes from the ESPN docuseries

“The Last Dance” director Jason Hehir explained why the ESPN documentary goes beyond Michael Jordan and revealed shocking details about the making of the 10-part series in a new interview.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, “The Last Dance” became a massive hit. The 10-part sports docuseries revolved around the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls and Jordan’s last season with the NBA franchise. Now, Hehir has opened up about why “The Last Dance” wasn’t just about Jordan despite the documentary focusing on the backstory of the greatest player of all time.

“I think that, proportionate to how important Michael was to those Bulls teams, is proportionate to how important he was to this doc, but it’s a doc about the dynasty,” he explained in an exclusive interview with Collider. “To me, on a larger scale, the doc is about the pursuit of greatness and the price of greatness.”

The director also revealed that the footage used for “The Last Dance” had already been in place sometime after 1998. But he said it wasn't until 2016 that he got a call to make the documentary because “sports documentary back in those days, was not nearly as prolific as they are now.”

Given Jordan’s role in the documentary, Hehir and the producers had to work hand-in-hand with the NBA icon the entire time. But contrary to what some may have believed, Jordan actually didn’t intervene much during the creation of the ESPN docuseries.

“No, there was never any,” Hehir said when asked if Jordan and the producers ever pressured him into cutting something from “The Last Dance.”

Hehir then pointed out that Jordan and the rest of the producers never got the chance to make major revisions with him at the helm. He also revealed that Jordan was no VIP on the set and everything was done in accordance with the goal, which is to produce a “comprehensive documentary.”

“Because I wouldn’t have agreed to do the project if such conditions were enforced, so from the outset, we all agreed that this should be comprehensive, and in order for it to be respected as a responsible, comprehensive documentary, we have to go places that may be uncomfortable for Michael, or that don’t cast him in a flattering light,” Hehir said.

“If they wanted to make a 10-part docuseries about how great Michael Jordan is, you can go on YouTube and watch highlights all day if you want to see that,” he continued.

The Last Dance focuses on the 1998 playoffs when Michael Jordan won his sixth and last title as the Bulls beat the Utah Jazz in the finals
The Last Dance focuses on the 1998 playoffs when Michael Jordan won his sixth and last title as the Bulls beat the Utah Jazz in the finals AFP / ROBERT SULLIVAN

Hehir concluded that he really aimed for revealing the MJ as a “man” and what the people around him had to say about him as a basketball player and as a person.

“I really was more interested in discovering more about Michael Jordan the man, and also going into the backstories of the people who were the key cogs in the machine that was that Bulls dynasty in the ’90s,” Hehir said. “And of course it’s going to star Michael Jordan, but it’s also about a lot more than Michael’s life in basketball.”