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MJ and The Last Dance
MJ and The Last Dance
Published by Swampy Meadows
04-23-2020
MJ and The Last Dance

BEVERLY HILLS (MI) -- In 1984 I was working for Group W Radio Sales as an advertising account executive here in Detroit. One of the stations that Westinghouse Broadcasting owned and that GWRS represented was WIND, a 5,000 watt station located at 560 on the AM dial. WIND was a talk station and lagged well behind market leader WGN, all news station WBBM, Top 40 WLS and FM rockers like WLUP. Due to our close proximity there were a ton of Detroit-based companies that wanted to advertise in the Windy City...just not on 560.

That would change when the Bulls drafted Michael Jordan.

WIND had the broadcast rights to the NHL Chicago Blackhawks, as well as for the then-struggling NBA Chicago Bulls.

Towards the end of his rookie season, advertisers here suddenly wanted to jump on the MJ bandwagon and WIND was more than happy to help them climb aboard.

Alas, after the 1985 season the Bulls decided to upgrade their radio flagship station and moved up the dial to WMAQ. At the time, I viewed it as no great loss, since I had just signed Kmart to their first-ever sponsorship of a major sports team anywhere in the country, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Just shows to go ya how smart I was.

Of course, Michael Jordan went on to be arguably the best basketball player ever and become the subject of ESPN’s compelling 10-part documentary, The Last Dance.

The first two chapters of The Last Dance are in the books and here are my observations:

-- UD grad Mark Giangreco (then of WMAQ TV) got a brief bit of facetime in the doc walking next to Michael when the Bulls arrived in Paris for an exhibition series.

-- “Former Chicago resident” Barack Obama.

-- Holy sh*t -- I never realized how much John Paxson looks exactly like his dad Jim, Sr. until his bald pate popped up in Episode 2. I guess his then-full head of hair always hid their resemblance.

-- Absolutely loved the section of Episode 2 that dealt with the Celtics 1986 playoff series -- Danny Ainge playing golf with Jordan after game 1 and warning All-Star defender Dennis Johnson of the C’s “Tell DJ I got a little something for him in game 2.” 63 points later, Larry Bird aptly described the performance as “God, disguised as Michael Jordan.” Bill Walton b*tching to Ainge about having to cover Jordan in switches and rightfully so, as the big redhead fouled out trying to defend MJ.

-- Aaaand Now … an Oral History of the Greatest Starting Lineup Introduction in Sports History, featuring "Sirius" by my all-time favorite rock band, the Alan Parsons Project:

https://www.theringer.com/nba/2018/1...michael-jordan

-- Digging into the Sports Illustrated Vault, here is the backstory of the HS coach who cut sophomore Michael Jordan from the varsity at Laney High:

https://vault.si.com/vault/2012/01/1...michael-jordan

-- A longform look at recruiting history: The Arrival of Michael Jordan:

https://247sports.com/college/north-...6/#146255406_1

-- UD Grad and Boston Herald Celtics’ beat writer Steve Bulpett takes a look behind the scenes with a very young Michael Jordan:

https://www.bostonherald.com/2020/04...ichael-jordan/

-- ESPN did all of us a humoungous favor by shifting the premiere of The Last Dance from June until now, while we are all stuck sheltering in place. The gamble paid off, as an average of 6.1 million viewers tuned in to watch the first two episodes of the much-anticipated documentary series across ESPN and ESPN 2.

-- In case you missed the first two episodes of The Last Dance you can watch them here (WARNING: these are the uncensored versions of the documentary):

Episode 1: https://www.espn.com/watch/player?id...7-17b4c47f7649

Episode 2: https://www.espn.com/watch/player?id...2-2929d14efd85

That’s it “From the Swamp.”
You can email me at: swampy@udpride.com
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