How The Last Dance shows ESPN’s bias against the Rockets

Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon Mandatory Credit: Allsport /Allsport Mandatory Credit: Allsport /Al
Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon Mandatory Credit: Allsport /Allsport Mandatory Credit: Allsport /Al /

Although ESPN’s hit docu-series The Last Dance has been wildly entertaining and addicting, there’s a major bias on display, which goes against the Houston Rockets.

We’ve all been glued to ESPN’s highly anticipated The Last Dance docu-series, as the two hours each week simply fly by before we’ve even realized. This has made us count down each day between Monday and Sunday, which is when we’ll be able to see two additional installments of the film. But one thing that became painfully obvious during the sixth episode was the bias ESPN has against the Houston Rockets.

For starters, we shouldn’t have expected otherwise, as Michael Jordan had a hand in producing the film, so the main character would certainly not give due credit to any other team during his era. And especially not the obsessively competitive Jordan, who probably finds it painful to compliment a player or team without somehow including himself in the same sentence.

Related Story. Why Jordan was afraid of Olajuwon

One of the more egregious slights took place during the sixth episode of the featured film, in which the question was raised regarding which team gave Jordan’s Chicago Bulls the biggest challenge. Both David Aldridge and Michael Wilbon selected the New York Knicks as their answer, which was an interesting selection at best.

During the Bulls’ six championship years, they won 78.2 percent of their games against the Knicks and 54.5 percent of their games against the Rockets. Former Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale believes the Rockets would’ve presented the best challenge to Jordan’s Bulls, as he stated on Houston’s ESPN-affiliate radio station.

“One thing that hasn’t gotten enough play is how much trouble Olajuwon and that team would’ve given Michael. I always said what the Bulls didn’t run into during MJ’s reign was an unbelievably dominant big man like Hakeem Olajuwon. If anybody was going to give the Bulls alot of trouble, it would’ve been a dominant center, which of course Hakeem was. And Houston had three of four guys that didn’t care if they were guarding Michael Jordan or not.

You have to have those guys that just don’t care, like Vernon Maxwell. They had enough guys that were just roughriders and you have to have that. The Rockets don’t get enough credit, because they were really a tough team with some really good defenders that weren’t afraid to compete, and a freakish Hall of Fame center that was in his prime.”

During the Bulls’ championship years, Olajuwon averaged 22.8 points, 12 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2,2 steals, and 3.3 blocks in head-to-head matches, which were all higher than his career averages during his time with the Rockets. Olajuwon also shot 50 percent from the field against the Bulls during that span, which also goes to show how the Bulls simply didn’t have an answer for him.

As McHale mentioned, Vernon Maxwell was also someone the Bulls had trouble with, as he had higher scoring averages against the Bulls and was a lockdown defender against MJ. In fact, Jordan’s scoring numbers dipped against Maxwell and the Rockets, which is further proof of why/how the Rockets were the bigger threat for Jordan than the Knicks were.

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Sure, the Rockets’ success against Jordan being included in this film would’ve made Jordan look much weaker, which defeats his purpose of releasing the docu-series. But the reality is that the Rockets were the biggest threat to Jordan and the Bulls, so saying anything otherwise would be biased and inaccurate.