Mon, May 11, 2020

'The Last Dance' director explains the 'delicate' process of examining Michael Jordan's dad's murder and the conspiracy theories surrounding it

In 1993, at the height of Michael Jordan's reign as the NBA's greatest basketball player, Jordan's life was turned upside down when his father, James Jordan, was found dead near Fayetteville, North Carolina, after pulling his Lexus SC400 on the side of the road to take a nap.

The event would alter Jordan's life as the basketball player who had just completed a three-peat of championships with the Chicago Bulls and received an Olympic gold medal as a member of the Dream Team. He decided to retire and go play baseball — something he and his father discussed before his shocking death.

On Sunday, episode seven of ESPN's docuseries "The Last Dance" examined this dark event in Jordan's life, and director Jason Hehir admits it was a tough thing to bring up.

"It's definitely a delicate subject," Hehir told Insider. "It would be for anybody if you're talking about the death of their father, and a death that was horrific and violent."

Hehir said he did not bring it up until he and Jordan met for their second session of interviews. The way he addressed it was by asking Jordan to talk about the theories surrounding his sudden retirement and pivot to baseball. One theory is that Jordan retired because NBA commissioner David Stern was going to suspend him over his constant gambling off the court. Another was that his father's murder was retaliation for a gambling debt Jordan owed.

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