the last dance

‘The Last Dance': Michael Jordan Shares Story of the Bulls' ‘Traveling Cocaine Circus'

In this file photo, Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls looks on from the bench against the Washington Bullets during an NBA basketball game circa 1985 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland.
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

ESPN's "The Last Dance" documentary series premiered Sunday night, promising new interviews and a behind-the-scenes look at Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls.

The first two episodes of the 10-part series unearthed plenty of stories - including one from Jordan himself that's sure to raise a few eyebrows.

"One of the articles I read, they called it 'the Bulls' traveling cocaine circus,'" an off-camera interviewer asked Jordan of his first season on the team. Jordan burst into laughter, throwing his head back with an echoing clap and even a knee slap as he admitted, still chuckling, "I've never heard that."

The 38th NBA All-Star Game was played on February 7, 1988, at Chicago Stadium in Chicago. The Eastern Conference team won the game 138-133 and Michael Jordan was named the game's MVP.

When asked if it was accurate, he launched into a tale of a 1984 preseason experience that fans may have been surprised to hear.

"Look, guys were doing things that I didn't see," Jordan said. "I had one event, preseason, I think we were in Peoria. It was in the hotel, so I’m trying to find my teammates. So I start knocking on doors. I get to this one door and I knock on the door and I can hear someone says, 'Shh… someone’s outside.' And then you hear this deep voice says, 'Who is it?' I says, 'MJ.' And then they all say, 'Ah f**k, he’s just a rookie, don’t worry about it.'"

"So they open up the door, I walk in and practically the whole team was in there. And it was like things I’ve never seen in my life, you know, as a young kid," he continued. "You got your lines over here, you got your weed smokers over here, you got your women over here. So the first thing I said, 'Look man, I'm out.' You know, because all I can think about is if they come and raid this place, right about now, I am just as guilty as everybody else that's in this room. And from that point on, you know, I was more or less on my own."

That story cut away to a montage of Jordan doing chores - dishes, laundry, tidying - in his home as he and others recalled that he didn't participate much in the club scene or even drink alcohol at the time.

Originally set to premiere in June, the "The Last Dance" kicked off early after fans - isolated at home and without any live sports during the coronavirus pandemic - begged ESPN to move up the release date. The first two episodes aired Sunday and ESPN will air two additional episodes at 8 p.m. CST each Sunday through May 17.

It includes more than 500 hours of never-before-seen footage from the Bulls' last championship run in the 1997-98 season and features dozens of interviews with teammates, key NBA figures and Jordan himself.

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