Now that ESPN’s docuseries “The Last Dance” has concluded, it has proved to be a ratings smash all the way through. It also sparked plenty of online conversations about its subject Michael Jordan and the six championships he won with the Chicago Bulls.
One person who joined a discussion about him was LeBron James, who spoke about “The Last Dance” on Monday, May 18, on “Uninterrupted’s” “WRTS: After Party.”
The topic started at the 4:17 mark. James first spoke about Jordan retiring in 1993 to play minor league baseball, months after his father was murdered in North Carolina.
The Los Angeles Lakers star said that Jordan walking away from basketball then was traumatic, because he used the inspiration Jordan gave him to get through difficult times.
“It didn’t make sense to me,” said James about the retirement. “For me growing up in Akron, Ohio, all the hardships that I had to go through, you look for inspiration. You look for any inspiration you can and usually people that’s playing professional sports or people in the music industry is the ones that gave you that inspiration to make you believe you can be anything you want.”
“So I had Ken Griffey Jr. and Deion Sanders, and a lot of other musicians,” he added. “But Michael Jordan was kind of like that god. He was that angel sent from heaven that I kind of used him to help me get through some of the darkest days that I had. … There’s a lot of dark days when you grow up the way I grew up and you’re part of a single-parent household.”
The 10-part docuseries has been a ratings bonanza for ESPN out of the gate, with 6.1 million viewers tuning in to the premiere episode. That number made “The Last Dance” ESPN’s highest-rated documentary since the network has been on the air.
Deadline reports the last two episodes scored a whopping 5.89 million and 5.4 million viewers, respectively.
James raised his wine glass while talking about the final episodes of “The Last Dance” during the conversation and said it only makes him want to play basketball that much more. The NBA has been suspended because of COVID-19 since March 11.
Later, he spoke to more of what Jordan meant to him as a child growing up in Akron, Ohio, and how he filled multiple voids for him at that time.
“When you’re a 9-year-old kid and you need inspiration from someone, they become your father, which I needed, they become your brother, they become your teammate, they become your pastor, they become your superhero,” he explained. “It’s like Batman and Michael Jordan for me when I was growing up. Those were the two best superheroes in the world.”