A report in the LA Times has detailed how ESPN’s hit docu-series The Last Dance was not fully finished before the show’s first air date on April 19th.
The series, which follows Michael Jordan and the famed Chicago Bulls, had originally been set to be released in June, coinciding with the NBA finals. But the release was pushed forward amid the current coronavirus pandemic.
Fans had already been keen for the series to be aired ahead of time given the lack of live sport. Lebron James’ comments on the Road Trippin podcast, in which he urged ESPN to release it early, further encouraged fans to push for an early showing.
According to Arash Markazi of the LA Times, however, the series was still far from completion when James made the suggestion. Only three episodes of the ten completed when all non-essential business in New York was shut down on March 16th.
The last interview for the series, with former Utah Jazz guard John Stockton, was only completed on March 10th, with a local producer required to ask the questions due to travel restrictions on the usual crew.
Markazi continues by outlining that they settled on the April 19th release date. Director Jason Hehir ‘said he could finish the 10th and last episode by mid-May and they worked back from that date. They considered doing one episode each Sunday before settling on two each Sunday for 5 weeks.’
Work on episode nine was reportedly only completed last Friday, with the tenth and final episode ‘scheduled to be done by May 10, as viewers watch episodes 7 and 8.
Sunday night’s episode which is dedicated to Kobe Bryant, a rival and friend of Jordan’s, was completed last July and was edited a week before his passing in January, according to Markazi.
He continues by outlining that the production team went back and looked at the interview following Bryant’s death.
However, they decided that nothing needed to be changed and that the only thing added was the dedication at the beginning.