The hero of The Last Dance is obvious: It’s Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time. The series also has an obvious villain, and it’s not any of the teams Jordan played against: It’s Jerry Krause, the general manager who intentionally dismantled the 1990s Bulls in a foolish attempt to prove his own worth.
Steve Ballmer pressed the heels of his hands against his thighs and leaned forward. He was sitting in his customary spot at Staples Center, along the baseline in the arena’s north end. Most NBA owners sit at midcourt and dress like the corporate executives with billion-dollar fortunes that they are. Ballmer was wearing a plaid shirt and casual pants. “I can’t wear a sport coat to a basketball game,” he’d said a few minutes earlier.
Jordan would call Bryant his “little brother,” Bryant would call Jordan his “big brother,” and they’d praise each other’s work ethic and accomplishments. But rarely would either volunteer much more, each man knowing all too well that any glimpse would invite the kind of comparisons and debate they loathed.