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Breaking down Michael Jordan Popularity pool picks for “The Last Dance”

DraftKings Sportsbook is offering a picks pool for the MJ doc airing on ESPN on Sunday. We go over popular picks for Episode 1.

Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls looks on against the Charlotte Hornets on May 6, 1998 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

This Sunday we get the highly anticipated documentary series “The Last Dance” airing on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET. The series gives us an in-depth look at the Chicago Bulls dynasty during the 1990s with Michael Jordan being the focal point. DraftKings Sportsbook is offering a popularity picks pool for MJ, giving you a chance to win some money while looking back at the career of the best basketball player ever. Yeah, I said it. Let’s take a look at the questions and I’ll give my take on each one:

Best game?

  • 1989 vs. Cavaliers, Game 5 ‘The Shot’
  • 1990 vs. Cavaliers, career-high 69 points
  • 1993 vs. Suns, Game 4 of Finals, 55 points
  • 1995 vs. Knicks, out of retirement 55 points at The Garden
  • 1998 vs. Jazz, Game 6 of Finals, game-winner

The early favorite is the crossover on Byron Russell (not push-off) game-winner to complete the second three-peat. If it were me picking, I’d go with the MSG game. It was his fifth game back out of retirement and it was the first time everyone was like “Okay, yeah, Mike’s back ...” Recency bias for the two games vs. the Cavs, though both are worthy of consideration.

Best moment?

  • Flu Game
  • Free-throw line dunk in dunk contest
  • The Shrug
  • Switch-hands layup
  • Game-winning shot in Game 6 of ‘98 Finals
  • Game-winning shot in National Championship with UNC

I think the Flu Game wins in a landslide here. If it were in the above category, it’d be the winner. It’s one of the more memorable games in sports history. It’s one of the most talked about games even today. The highlights and the shrug and the game-winners are nice, but that gutsy performance in Game 5 of the Finals was what MJ was all about. Win at all costs.

Best quote?

  • “Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.”
  • “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
  • “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
  • “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
  • “The ceiling is the roof.”

Because I know most people have zero patience right now, I’ll go with the shortest quote in “The ceiling is the roof” over the others. The middle quote “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen” is the most “MJ” to me. It’s basically saying there are three types of people, those who want, those who wish and Jordan.

Best Bulls team that Michael Jordan was on?

  • 1997-98
  • 1991-92
  • 1996-97
  • 1995-96

This doesn’t say which specific teams each is, but if you did your homework you know it’s the 1995-96 team that went 72-10 and almost ran the table on the way to beating the SuperSonics in the Finals. It was basically MJ’s first full season back after taking 1993-94 off. All he did was lead the NBA in scoring and win MVP. It was Dennis Rodman’s first season in Chicago and it couldn’t have worked out better. Steve Kerr, Toni Kukoc, Luc Longley, Ron Harper, Bill Wennington, JOHN SALLEY ... I mean come on, the only thing this team is missing is B.J. Armstrong and/or Horace Grant.

Best single accomplishment?

  • 6x NBA Champion
  • 6x Finals MVP
  • 5x Regular season MVP
  • 1985 Rookie of the Year
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Gold Medal winner - amateur and pro

The Presidential Medal of Freedom isn’t given to just anybody and because he did everything else so effortlessly, I’ll go with that. 6x Finals MVP is tough to do, as we’ve seen in recent years with the Warriors, Spurs and whichever team LeBron James is on. You can lead teams to a championship and not win Finals MVP pretty easily. MJ did it every time he got there.

Most iconic mannerism?

  • Biting his jersey
  • Complaining to the refs
  • Mid-range fadeaway jumper
  • The tongue
  • Trash talking

I love the fact that MJ was not only the greatest but all he did was talk trash to everyone. Like Mel Brooks said, “It’s good to be the King.” While I would go with the trash talking, the No. 1 mannerism in my eyes is “The tongue” by far. That was MJ’s signature for a while, particularly while dunking on everyone. I think the popular choice is the tongue, I’m picking trash talking.

Best Space Jam teammate?

  • Lola Bunny
  • Bugs Bunny
  • Bill Murray
  • Tweety Bird
  • Daffy Duck

“Woahhhh, I don’t play defense ...”

Best teammate on the Bulls?

  • Scottie Pippen
  • Dennis Rodman
  • Horace Grant
  • Toni Kukoc

Next question.

Biggest rival on the court?

  • Clyde Drexler
  • Dominique Wilkins
  • Gary Payton
  • Isiah Thomas
  • Reggie Miller

It was probably Reggie, but I also see some recency bias coming into play here. A lot of people will remember early in MJ’s career, all those games against Clyde and Nique. The 1988 Dunk Contest. Thomas was on those Bad Boy Pistons teams that beat MJ in the late 80s, so he’s got a good case. The Glove also does having faced MJ in the Finals and the trash talking stories. Reggie was probably 10-15 other players No. 1 rival also, he’s the easy pick.

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