With the flick of a match, the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s came to an end.
After the Bulls won their sixth NBA title in 1998, all the players and coaches knew they weren't coming back for a chance at a seventh championship run. So coach Phil Jackson called one final team meeting.
"My wife had gotten her Master's in Social Work, and she was part of a group that went in to help people that were grieving," Jackson said during the closing moments of ESPN's "The Last Dance" documentary Sunday. "One of the things they did was a ritual where they kind of put things to rest."
There was a singular purpose for the meeting.
"He says 'This is it. This is the last dance. This is the last time we're ever going to be together,' " Steve Kerr said. "He told everybody to bring in anything you want to write about what the team means to you."
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Jackson told the players in the room to write down what the team meant to them, read it out loud to the room, and then put the paper in a coffee can.
"And every guy had emotional words to say," Kerr said. "And I remember Michael [Jordan] actually wrote a poem."
Jackson had just finished 11 seasons with Jordan, including two as an assistant coach, and he was stunned by what his star player had written down.
"It was a depth of emotion you never thought he had," Jackson said.
"Phil had the knack, no matter how big you are, no matter how big you think you are, to always draw you in to be part of the process," Jordan said. "I'm not a poet, but I just spoke what I felt at the time. We're always going to be bonded. Said thanks for the past, enjoy the moment, let's make sure we end it right."
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Kerr, who famously got into a fight with Jordan during a Bulls practice in 1995, saw the six-time NBA Finals MVP in a new light.
"We saw him as this bully sometimes," Kerr said. "But that day, he showed his compassion, his empathy for all of us. Then everybody put the paper in the can and at the end of the session, Phil turned out the lights and he lit the paper in the can. One of the most powerful things I've ever seen."
And that was the end of one of the greatest dynasties in sports history.
Steve Kerr recalls 'powerful' end of Michael Jordan, Bulls' 'Last Dance' originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area