Jason Hehir: Karl Malone, Bryon Russell declined 'Last Dance' interviews

Rob Schaefer
NBC Sports Chicago

Jason Hehir and his team interviewed 106 people compiling "The Last Dance." With the benefit of Michael Jordan's cooperation and connections, they masqueraded the sports universe from the 1990s, collecting anecdotes and insight from seemingly every athlete, media figure and member of Jordan's life of note.

But a few key names were missing, especially given Episode 10 of the docuseries' focus on the Bulls' consecutive Finals matchups (and victories) over the Utah Jazz.

"Yes," Hehir told Dan Patrick on "The Dan Patrick Show" when asked if Karl Malone declined to be interviewed. "Believe me, we exhausted just about every avenue. We started in January 2018 with that one because we knew he was gonna be a tough sell."

The crew did get John Stockton to sit down, but Hehir told Patrick that that interview was conducted on March 10, just under three weeks (!) before the announcement of the documentary's advanced release.

RELATED: The Last Dance: Director Jason Hehir details production during coronavirus 

Hehir added that the only other interviewee of note he wasn't able to secure was Bryon Russell, who Jordan famously hit the game-winning jumper in the 1998 Finals over. Episode 10 featured a story of Russell trash-talking Jordan during his first retirement ("Man, why you quit? Why you quit? You knew I could guard your ass. You had to quit."). Obviously, that didn't end well for him.

"That was just a no response," Hehir told Patrick. "Out of respect for Bryon, I think he knew the questions we were going to ask and maybe he didn't want to go there."

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Jason Hehir: Karl Malone, Bryon Russell declined 'Last Dance' interviews originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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