Michael Jordan's Daughter Says She's Surprised by Her Father in 'The Last Dance'

Michael Jordan's daughter, Jasmine, has admitted being surprise by how candid and honest her father has been throughout The Last Dance, ESPN's 10-part documentary chronicling his final season with the Chicago Bulls.

The first eight episodes of the series have received universal acclaim for their behind-the-scenes portrayal of arguably the greatest NBA player in history.

The Last Dance has delved into different facets of Jordan, from the ferocious competitor happy to berate teammates he felt were not as driven as he was, to the man who quit basketball at the peak of his powers after growing exhausted with the all-consuming nature of being the NBA's brightest star.

While Jordan's competitive nature and a number of incidents examined in The Last Dance were broadly known prior to the documentary, seeing some of Jordan's former teammates outline how difficult a relationship they had with the six-time NBA champion painted him in a different light.

Similarly, it was revealing to see the disdain Jordan still maintains for former Chicago general manager Jerry Krause and for Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons, with whom the Bulls shared a bitter feud at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s.

Off the court, the documentary delved deep into Jordan's passion for gambling and how his hobby threatened to tarnish the can-do-no-wrong image he had built during his first years in the league.

In a broad-ranging interview with the Associated Press, Jasmine—Jordan's daughter from first wife Juanita Savoy—said it has been surprising to see his father so open about his life, given his reluctance to appear in public following his third retirement in 2003.

"It's definitely surprising because my father is very private. He doesn't like to comment on social matters or he doesn't like to respond to things when people want him to," she was quoted as saying.

"Seeing the documentary unfold and he's getting emotional and he's sharing his insight and perspective, it's been incredible to really see. And I love it because it gives him that human nature that I think people forget.

"You know, he is this incredible phenom, and he's the G.O.A.T. [Greatest of all times] and everything along those lines. But he's also human."

While Jordan's parents feature prominently throughout the first episodes and his brothers occasionally appear among the interviewees, the rest of his family is conspicuously absent.

Jasmine admitted that while Jordan was present during her childhood, their relationship has significantly improved after his retirement.

"When he was playing, he did his best to be as involved as he could be while I was growing up.

"Once he retired, it definitely was a change in gears, and it [improving their relationship] was something that he and I really had a conversation about. [...] He definitely adjusted versus trying to find something else to fill it [the void left by basketball] and that's something I appreciated. [...] That's how we're so close today."

While Jordan's daughter has been impressed with her father's candid approach during the first episodes, The Last Dance has come in for some criticism for not delivering the kind of tell-all, no-holds-barred TV some expected.

Director Jason Hehir had access to thousands of hours of behind-the-scenes footage amassed when a dedicated NBA Entertainment camera crew followed Jordan throughout his final season with the Bulls and some felt he could have delved deeper into Jordan's issues.

Last month, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns told The Wall Street Journal that the fact Jordan's company Jump 23 and the NBA were involved in the production was "not how you do good journalism".

Speaking to The Athletic's Richard Deitsch this week, Hehir acknowledged the criticism but aimed to set the record straight.

"It should be noted that it [Jump 23] is not Michael's production company. Michael didn't have a production company," he said.

The Jordan brand—meaning Curtis Polk [a Charlotte Hornets executive who manages MJ's financial and business affairs] and Estee Portnoy [Jordan's longtime business manager]—gave notes just like ESPN and Netflix and the NBA gave notes. But those were not final cut notes."

Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
Michael Jordan, former NBA star and owner of Charlotte Hornets, addresses a press conference ahead of the NBA basketball match between Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Hornets at The AccorHotels Arena in Paris on January 24. Franck Fife/AFP/Getty

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