Michael Jordan’s ‘Last Dance’ portrayal ‘hit home’ for Carmelo Anthony
ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” the 10-part docuseries that captivated the world of sports for five straight weeks, hit a soft spot for Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony. The NBA veteran watched Michael Jordan be portrayed in a somewhat new light in the highly acclaimed series, something that stood out to him.
“I think it’s surprising to people because they never knew who he was as a person – they never knew what type of person he was,” Anthony told CBS Sports. “Everything was just, ‘M.J. the great. M.J. the GOAT. Basketball God. Black Jesus. Black Cat.’ That’s what they knew. But they didn’t know who he was,”
“It was a myth. He was a mythical person, like a mythical creature. Nobody understood who he was or what he was. I think seeing him kind of take the lid off the pot and having the chance to kind of just tell his story and people can hear his passion — what he’s into, what he’s not, and how he operates on the day-to-day, his mentality. Most people loved it. Some people were very surprised. And then there were people who hated it, because a lot of times people hate the actual truth.”
Anthony can empathize, as he was ousted from the NBA for more than a full year after a 10-game stint with the Rockets, only to get a second wind with the Portland Trail Blazers. A narrative of being an individually driven, non-team player along with shots at his defense cast Melo out of consideration in the offseason, though he ultimately got his chance to write his own story once he emerged with the Blazers.
Watching “The Last Dance” hit Anthony right in the feels, as Jordan had to endure the hoopla of local and national NBA writers tying his gambling habits to the death of his father. Melo knows the feeling of being targeted with negativity:
“It hit home, but then you also understand that at the end of the day, there’s nothing you can do if somebody wants to put a negative narrative out there about you,” said Anthony. “There’s really nothing you can do, so what I’ve learned over the years is, whatever’s gonna happen is gonna happen. Whatever people are gonna say, people are gonna say. Just don’t give them anything to talk about. You’re doing your job and working hard. If you know you’re putting your all into it, anything somebody else says doesn’t even matter to you.”
Anthony helped Portland stay the course after an awful start to the season. The Blazers were battling for the eighth spot before the NBA season came to a sudden halt on March 11, and they’re hoping to get the opportunity to continue that fight.