Just when you think you hadn’t heard enough already about Michael Jordan, noted one-time basketball player, here comes another documentary to set you straight.
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A ten-hour documentary, if the producers shopping the idea have their way. From Richard Johnson at the New York Post:
The NBA and CAA (Creative Artists Agency) are shopping a 10-hour authorized documentary about Jordan. Production has not yet started, but the film will mostly be about His Airness’ comeback in the late ’90s (after his stint playing baseball), when he won three of his six championship rings.
The producing team is led by Mike Tollin, who spearheaded ESPN’s acclaimed “30 for 30” series and is partners with Peter Guber in Mandalay Sports Media. The project has been pitched to ESPN, Showtime, HBO and Fox Sports, and Jordan’s reps are looking for a deal somewhere north of $20 million.
For any other player, the decision to include ten full hours of content would mean that entirety of an entire basketball game (say, Jordan’s 63-point outing against the top-ranked Boston Celtics during MJ’s second professional season) would necessitate inclusion. Not so with Jordan, who was named ESPN’s Athlete of the Century just prior to the 2000 millennium.
MJ is no stranger to having his story told. He’s been the subject of endless books, both authorized and otherwise, and a litany of (rightfully) celebratory mini-films documented his career during the 1980s and 1990s. A 50-memory project we started on the occasion of his 50th birthday actually saw this website turning some anecdotes away at the door – there wasn’t enough room.
According to Johnson, “it is expected the film will gloss over his love of gambling,” which gives you some idea of just how tame the look into Jordan’s career might scan.
That caveat reminds of the remaining members of Queen’s decision to eliminate the more salacious parts of Freddie Mercury’s long career in their decade-long attempt to construct a major motion picture about the late singer that fits for everyone in the room. Knocking out the gambling and any other, borderline psychotic elements of Jordan’s total package would, in the end, leave any “documentation” lacking.
Which is fine because, at this point, Michael Jordan is a pretty slim study. If you’re well-read on the subject, as most of us have had little choice in becoming, his story might be considered (shock horror) boring at this point. At the very least, borderline unnecessary. This is the burden that the filmmakers – working within the “authorized” limitations – will have to overcome.
This isn’t to say we still shouldn’t go see the end result in droves, even at this length.
A fantastic story remains fantastic no matter how many times told. Jordan’s tale doesn’t have the same underdog hooks that others possess, but the move from good to great to ubiquitous legend should still engage viewers young and old. From those who grew up with the man, taking in every magazine and newspaper article in alongside those old VHS highlight tapes, to current generations clicking their way through YouTube highlights.
We’re all going to watch, even if the film does cut away some of the more compelling parts of his life (his ascension to worldwide superstar, his move to bring Chicago its first basketball championship, the night he lost his uniform) would be given short shrift if the reported post-baseball timeframe is encouraged.
Anything would be better than another bloody thinkpiece about ‘Space Jam.’ That was a cartoon, people.
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