'The Last Dance' Release Date: LeBron James, NBA Twitter Reacts to ESPN Moving Michael Jordan Documentary to April

With the NBA season suspended indefinitely and March Madness canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, basketball fans may have found themselves with a lot of unwanted free time over the last two weeks.

Luckily, ESPN has reportedly come to the rescue after agreeing to bring forward the release of its eagerly awaited documentary on Michael Jordan's last season with the Chicago Bulls in the 1997-98 campaign. The Last Dance was originally scheduled to air in June, but with a dearth of live basketball to rely on, the broadcaster has seemingly changed its plans and will air the 10-part documentary next month.

According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post who first reported the story, ESPN and ABC are expected to formally announce the release date on Good Morning America on Tuesday, but it is understood that the documentary will air on April 19.

The decision comes after growing clamor on social media for the release date of The Last Dance to be brought forward.

In mid-March, ESPN's advertisement for the documentary changed to "coming in June" to "coming soon," but the broadcaster insisted it had no plans to bring the release date forward.

That stance has obviously changed and the news was met with widespread celebration in the NBA, with players, former players and members of the media circling the date in red on their respective calendars.

"April 19 can't come soon enough," LeBron James tweeted following Marchand's report.

April 19th can’t come fast enough. I CAN NOT WAIT!! 🗣Yessir!🍿 #LastDance

— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 31, 2020

James had been among the most vocal in demanding ESPN brought the release date forward.

"If they release that thing right now? The views on it?" he said on the Road Trippin' podcast last week.

"Listen, if I'm Michael Jordan, I'm going in there and I'm making a conference call and I'm like, 'OK, what's the reason that we're going to hold onto it until June now? Compared to now when everybody is at home?' Because it's done [being edited]. It's done. Yeah, it's done."

The four-time MVP wasn't the only player celebrating the news.

Yessir https://t.co/ulv79RjbNW

— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) March 31, 2020

While appearing on the same podcast with James, ESPN analyst Richard Jefferson also suggested it seemed unthinkable the broadcaster will hold fire until June. On Monday night, the former New Jersey Nets star took to Twitter to share a proverbial "I told you so" moment.

Other NBA journalists were equally happy with the news, with The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor and ESPN's Kelly Cohen both clearly enjoying the fact that the wait for the documentary has been cut from three months to just three weeks.

It’s official APRIL 19th is Richard Jefferson appreciation day 🤣😂🤣 pic.twitter.com/gb0IW7yOuQ

— Richard Jefferson (@Rjeff24) March 31, 2020


— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) March 31, 2020

sports fans on april 19 pic.twitter.com/6hWmZXlybv

— kelly cohen (@ByKellyCohen) March 31, 2020

The 10-part series will dive deep into the 1997-98 season, Jordan's and coach Phil Jackson's final campaign with the Chicago Bulls, which ended with the team's sixth trip to the NBA Finals in eight years.

In a rematch of the 1997 NBA Finals, the Bulls again found the Utah Jazz standing between them and the title but again prevailed in six games, securing a second three-peat, while Jordan clinched a sixth NBA Finals MVP in as many appearances.

Chicago secured the title in Game Six thanks to one of the most memorable moments in Jordan's extraordinary career.

With less than 40 seconds left in the game and Chicago down by three points, Jordan pulled the Bulls back within one point, before stripping the ball from the hands of Jazz star Karl Malone on the following possession and scoring the winning basket with just five seconds left.

In just three weeks, NBA fans will be able to rewatch the action in all its glory.

Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson, Chicago Bulls
Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls head coach Phil Jackson congratulate each other after winning Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on June 14, 1998. The Bulls won the game 87-86 to win their sixth NBA championship. Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty

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