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The Last Dance

The Last Dance: Five teams in NBA history that deserve a similar documentary to 1997-98 Chicago Bulls

lakers, warriors, heat
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Documentaries are a fundamental part of building the legacy of great teams. They form a story, put a voice to its protagonists, allow us to get to know the ins-and-outs of the team, and learn from their points of view.

In recent years, those related to the NBA world have proliferated. From the Bad Boys to the ins-and-outs of the 1992 Dream Team, not to mention 'Once Brothers', that entails the relationship between Vlade Divac and Drazen Petrovic.

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The premiere of 'The Last Dance' has increased fans' interest in getting to know great teams from the inside, uncover hidden stories, and discover how they became legendary.

We've zeroed in on five teams that could be interesting to meet through a documentry in the style of the Jordan Bulls.

#1: Los Angeles Lakers, 2004

From the moment Phil Jackson took up head coaching duties on the bench, the famed Californian franchise became the most dominating team in the league in the post-Jordan era. They had the most dominating player under the basket in Shaquille O'Neal and their future seemed assured with a young Kobe Bryant, who was already a star.

After three consecutive titles between 2000 and 2002, everything seemed to indicate that the Lakers were going to rule over the rest of the league for as long as they wanted. However, the unexpected failure in the 2003 Conference semifinals against the Spurs brought the Los Angeles dynasty to a halt and forced the team to re-tool.

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Their 21-7 start was an indicator that expectations of a championship could be met but Malone's physical problems and Bryant's coming-and-going due to legal issues resulted in the team finishing with a 56-26 record. They would recover and reach the NBA Finals by defeating the Rockets, Spurs, and Timberwolves in the Western Conference, however, in one of the most unlikely upsets in NBA Finals history, they were knocked off by the Detroit Pistons in the Finals.

The interesting thing about a hypothetical documentary on this team would be to know, first hand, how the relationship of its protagonists deteriorated throughout the season. How players like Slava Medvedenko and Devean George emerged, and no doubt, the link between Bryant and O'Neal which eventually resulted in the latter's departure.

#2: Boston Celtics, 2008

Any documentary that includes Kevin Garnett is automatically a must-see.

No other team in recent NBA history has managed to turn it around like the 2007-08 Boston Celtics. They went the bottom of the conference to the NBA Championship in the matter of one offseason. The financial and roster changes made by GM Danny Ainge and the coaching craftsmanship displayed by Doc Rivers is one of the most interesting chapters of recent NBA history.

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Since Garnet and Ray Allen landed in Boston, they were embraced by the public and by the Celtics players who were already there. The connection that KG would develop with the Boston fanbase can still be felt every time he visits the Garden.

The most attractive thing about a documentary series about these Celtics would be knowing the step-by-step team-building, from the very tough preseason training to Game 6 of the Finals against the Lakers. On the other hand, the subsequent evolution of the group and its breakup, with special emphasis on Ray Allen, would give a unique touch to the production.

#3 Golden State Warriors, 2019

Given how quickly they went from one of the most dominating teams in the league to current holders of the worst record in the league, more than one documentary might be required on the Golden State Warriors.

However, the events of 2018-19 season, which included three of their key players on expiring contracts (Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green) and the departure of LeBron James from the Eastern Conference, makes for an interesting story.

Little-by-little the secret details of the super team, that won three rings in five years and had the opportunity to become the first team since the Lakers of 2000s to 3-peat, will be revealed. It would be compelling to see how the team's dynamics changed, the problems that Steve Kerr solved and Draymond Green's anger brewing.

#4 Miami Heat, 2012

LeBron James' path to his first championship ring was not easy. Repeated failures with his hometown franchise of the Cleveland Cavaliers, his departure from it, and frustrated expectations during his first year with the Miami Heat put King James in a very difficult situation.

Thus, an introspective in the 2011-2012 season that culminated with the Heat defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder 4-1 in the Finals would have plenty of entertainment value almost 10 years later.

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A season that began with the 2011 lockout would give the hypothetical documentary a different perspective, showing closely how James lived through that period of competitive inactivity and how tough the negotiations were. LeBron was at the peak of his career as he won his third league MVP award, and finally legitamized the tag of 'King' nine years after he entered the league.

To this, we add a cast of top supporting actors like Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra at the helm, and the superstar duo of Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, who would make this piece a must-watch.

#5 Philadelphia 76ers, 2001

To close this selection of cult teams we cannot overlook the summit of Allen Iverson's career. Iverson was a player who would revolutionize the league with his irreverent personality, unusual skillset, and lead the Philadelphia 76ers to their last Finals appearance.

The 2000-2001 season would be a real success for the franchise. With all the accolades they received that year - MVP (Iverson), Coach of the Year (Larry Brown), Defensive Player of the Year (Dikembe Mutombo) and Sixth Man of the Year (Aaron McKie) - they seemed to pose as a worthy rival to the Lakers.

Of course, the documentary would be eye-catching thanks to the presence of The Answer. On and off the court, he left memorable images from that season, none better than that iconic shot in Game 1 of the Finals when he stepped over Tyronne Lue.

The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.

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