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The Last Dance: Michael Jordan stories that didn't make final cut

The Last Dance: Michael Jordan stories that didn't make final cut

Across all 10 episodes of “The Last Dance,” director Jason Hehir and his team seemingly turned over every stone when covering Michael Jordan and the culmination of the Bulls’ dynasty in the 1997-98 season.

But Hehir spoke with Mike Tirico on “Lunch Talk Live” and revealed there were stories left untold during the series.

Hehir told Tirico one of those stories: how Jordan initially met his longtime friend and assistant George Koehler.

“You saw George Koehler, (Jordan’s) personal assistant and best friend. Michael was the one who insisted he be titled that, and that tells you everything you need to know about his relationship with George.

“He met George when he first got to Chicago when he was a rookie. He got off the plane and he couldn’t find the car that was supposed to pick him up, and George couldn’t find his fare, who he was supposed to pick up.

“So George went up to Michael and said, ‘Hey, aren’t you Larry Jordan?’ And Michael said, ‘No, that’s my brother, I’m Michael Jordan.’ It turned out that George played ball with a guy named Larry Jordan and just got the names screwed up, but Michael wasn’t *Michael Jordan* at that point. He was a famous college player, but he certainly wasn’t a household name yet.”

Props to Koehler for recognizing him, and even more props to Koehler for what he did next.

“He ended up giving Michael a ride to his hotel for $25,” Hehir said. “Michael tipped him and George gave him his card and said, ‘Hey, if you ever need anything in Chicago, need to know where to go, just give me a call.’

“So two days later Michael calls up George because he needs to find a place to get a haircut. And they’ve been best friends ever since.

“So it’s little stories like that... you know we had a lot of stuff about his childhood, about his high school career, about his decision to leave UNC and how much thought went into that with Dean Smith and his counciling. So there’s a lot of that early stuff that I would’ve loved to have done, but we had to get through so much story with other characters, as well.”

With all this great footage left unseen, hopefully this leaves the door open for more content down the road.

RELATED - The Last Dance: How finale came together in quarantine

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Photos: First look at NBA Orlando bubble facilities, courts

Photos: First look at NBA Orlando bubble facilities, courts

The NBA hopes to complete its 2019-20 season and crown a champion by way of a 22-team restart in a bubble environment at Walt DIsney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.

In pursuit of that goal, the league has enumerated 113 pages of health and safety guidelines for the bubble, and various adapted transactional and competitive rule amendments to accommodate the 22 teams making the trip.

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Now, we have our first peek into what the bubble will actually look like. Enclosed, find imagery distributed by the league, which depicts the facilities the 22 teams convening in July will be working with.

Photos: First look at NBA Orlando bubble facilities, courts

 

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NBA: Trae Young, Bobby Portis, Larry Nance react to idea of ‘Delete 8’ bubble

NBA: Trae Young, Bobby Portis, Larry Nance react to idea of ‘Delete 8’ bubble

The NBA is moving forward with its long-awaited, 22-team season restart in Orlando. But the eight squads excluded from the action are not going quietly into that good offseason.

In addition to the Disney campus, the league is considering a second bubble — and in Chicago, no less — for those eight teams that missed the Orlando cut: the Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors and, of course, the Bulls.

What would the second bubble entail? It’s not exactly clear yet, but presumably, some activity plan consisting of training camps and scrimmages would be the goal. But hurdles remain. NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts were both clear in a conference call on June 27 that any bubble environment supplementary to the Orlando one would need to meet the same stringent safety protocols. The NBPA will need to agree to any plan the league formulates.

And then there’s the question of who exactly would participate in the second bubble — one that, at this point, seems as if it would be played mostly for training purposes, without competitive stakes and with the COVID-19 pandemic still swirling. Our K.C. Johnson reported that players would be allowed to opt out of the second bubble, which makes sense considering players have been afforded that right for the Orlando restart. 

RELATED: Sources: NBA considering Chicago, Wintrust Arena for 'Delete 8' bubble 

So, it will be interesting to track how members of the “Delete 8” teams digest and react to this news. Trae Young, who enjoyed a breakout second season with the 20-47 Hawks, made clear he’s just itching to hoop:

Former Bull and current Knick Bobby Portis reacted, in emoji form, with what we can only assume is skepticism. Portis has a roughly $15.8 million club option for 2020-21:

 

And Larry Nance Jr. of the Cavaliers provided some levity for the situation. A Cavs-Warriors rematch in the current climate would certainly be a long way off from the four consecutive NBA Finals matchups between the two from 2015-2019.

 

Now, back to the waiting game.

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