No matter when they watched "The Last Dance," basketball fans noticed a few missing faces.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr did, too. Kerr, who played on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls team that was the subject of the 10-part documentary, wanted to see more of two starters from that squad.
“It was a little disappointing that a couple of guys, Luc Longley and Ron Harper, didn’t get a whole lot of coverage," Kerr said earlier this week on "The Bill Simmons Podcast" (H/T Essentially Sports). "But you can only do so much obviously, and Luke lives in remote western Australia.”
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Harper started all 82 games for the '97-98 Bulls, and the former guard started no fewer than 74 games during each of the Bulls' title-winning teams from 1995-96 to '97-98. But the guard's most memorable appearance in the documentary came in reference to his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Harper recalled saying "Yeah, f--k this bulls--t" when then-Cavs coach Lenny Wilkens asked Craig Ehlo, not Harper, to guard Michael Jordan on the final possession during Game 5 of a first-round playoff series with the Bulls.
Jordan, of course, proceeded to hit one of the most iconic buzzer-beaters and eliminate Cleveland with Ehlo guarding him.
The documentary centered on Jordan's experience above all, and Longley wasn't even as much as a one-off talking head. The former center was the first Australian to play in the NBA and arguably had the best season of his career when NBA Entertainment's cameras followed the dynastic Bulls during their last run together, but his appearances in the documentary consisted entirely of archival footage.
Kerr had a sizeable role in the documentary, with the filmmakers shining a light on his upbringing, the death of his father and his "fight" with Jordan. The Golden State coach said he's still good friends with Longley, and he quipped to Simmons there wasn't enough room in the documentary's reported $20 million budget to make the trip to see the big man.
"I don’t know what the budget was for ‘The Last Dance,’ but it wasn’t big enough to fly to remote western Australia ... and go interview him," Kerr joked. "But I would have liked to see him and Ron get a little more love just because they were starters and huge players on those teams.”
Travel would've been impossible due to restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, but ESPN pushing up the documentary's original June airdate to April meant that the filmmakers were still working on it as the series aired. A Longley appearance via video chat would've been jarring, considering how every other interviewee's shots were set up.
Considering the documentary's ubiquity plus Longley's (and Harper's) lack of screen time, Kerr wouldn't have minded much.