Good news, sports fans: There is some fresh sports content hitting the airwaves for you to consume over the next few weeks.
ESPN will debut the first two episodes of its 10-part documentary “The Last Dance,” on Sunday night (9 p.m. ET) chronicling Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls in 1997-98 and the subsequent end of the franchise’s double three-peat of the 1990s.
It will allow sports fans to get a never-before-seen close-up on the likes of Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and head coach Phil Jackson — the cast members of one of the NBA’s last great dynasty and one of its most revered groupings.
Well, maybe not in New York City.
For Knicks fans everywhere, the Bulls’ final championship season was the end of their reign of terror that limited the Big Apple’s success throughout the late 80s and early 90s.
Over an eight-year stretch from 1988-1996, the Bulls eliminated the Knicks from the playoffs five times, stimying a franchise that to this day is still searching for its first NBA title since 1973.
Emerging from the 1980s that included a rebuild centered around the drafting of Patrick Ewing in 1985 and a 52-win 1988-89 season that was ended in the second round by a 25-year-old Michael Jordan and the Bulls, the Knicks were one of the Eastern Conference’s strongest teams in the early 1990s thanks to a few brilliant moves.
The Knicks signed John Starks in 1990, promoted Pat Riley to head coach and brought on Anthony Mason in 1991 to help create the foundation of a team that won 51 games in 1991-92.
They were beaten in seven games by the Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinals where Jordan dropped 42 in the decisive final game on his way to a second-straight NBA title.
The following season, the Knicks tied a franchise record with 60 wins, only to be beaten in the Eastern Conference Finals by Chicago in six games. Jordan averaged 32.2 points per game that series to lift the Bulls to a third-straight Finals appearance, where they defeated the Phoenix Suns in six games.
Finally, in 1993-94, the Knicks got past the Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinals, needing seven games to advance. But Jordan was enjoying his first retirement, playing minor-league baseball in the Chicago White Sox’s system.
After defeating the Indiana Pacers, the Knicks came tantalizingly close to a third-ever NBA title, but Starks 2-for-18 shooting performance in Game 7 headlined the Knicks six-point loss in the final game, handing the title to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets would repeat the following year while the Knicks choked away the Eastern Conference semifinals to Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers, but Jordan would return in 1995-96 to get the Bulls’ dynasty — and Knicks misery — back on track.
With Riley leaving for greener pastures with the Miami Heat, the Knicks won 47 games under Don Nelson and Jeff Van Gundy — their fewest since 1990-91.
They still swept the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round only to meet Jordan and the Bulls, who took care of the Knicks in five games.
The Bulls would lose just three games that entire postseason, winning their fourth championship in six years by taking down the Seattle SuperSonics in six games.
It’s been 24 years since the Knicks and Bulls have met in a playoff series as the franchises have very much been irrelevant since 2000. But while “The Last Dance” might bring back some unfortunate memories for Knicks, it at least offers a look back to a time when dysfunction wasn’t commonplace.