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The Last Dance

The Last Dance: The simmering tension that loomed over the Chicago Bulls entering the 1997/98 season

Entering the 1997/98 season, the Chicago Bulls were on top of the world after claiming their fifth title of the decade - preparing for a run at their sixth in what would be their second three-peat, in the season known as The Last Dance.

MORE: How MJ & the Bulls denied Hall of Famers a chance at championship glory | State of the NBA heading into the 1997-98 season

The 10-part documentary, The Last Dance, takes an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the Chicago Bulls season, featuring 10,000 hours of unreleased footage and interviews with players, coaches and team personnel, giving fans a deeper look at how the dynasty reached its final crescendo.

Despite their dominant run of success, the team was headed for a breakup as management looked towards a rebuild for the future. The Last Dance highlights the tense environment in Chicago, with General Manager Jerry Krause, who ran the Bulls from 1985 to 2003, looking to break up the successful squad, much to the chagrin of the playing group.

"We are entitled to defend what we have, until we lose it," Michael Jordan said following their 1997 title win.

"If we lose it then you look at it and say, 'Let's change, let's go through a rebuilding'. No one is guaranteeing a rebuild is going to be two, three four or five years.

"If you want to look at this from a business thing, have a sense of respect for the people that laid the groundwork so you could be a powerful organisation."

Krause, who watched on as Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson soak up the limelight for the team's success, was "growing resentful" according to The Jordan Rules author Sam Smith, for his limited credit as the architect of the squad.

"He was certainly at the root of what made the tension of that season so severe," Chicago Sun-Times sportswriter Rick Telander says in The Last Dance.

Ahead of the 1997/98 season, Krause was quoted: "Players don't win championships, organisations do." A single line that would only further the division between players and management.

Krause went on to explain that he had been misquoted in the story, saying the omission of the word 'alone' painted him in a negative light, but by then the damage was done.

"It was a misquote," Krause said in an interview after the story was published. "What I said was that players and coaches 'alone' don't win championships, that organisations do.

"I do sincerely believe that organisations, as a whole, win. One part of it can't win alone.

"The guy [journalist] left the word 'alone' out of there. He admitted it later on, 'Yeah, I left a word out'. You dumb son of a b****, that's what killed the quote."

The quote was not well received by the players in what was already a tense environment, leaving Michael Jordan less than impressed.

"We know that the team is much bigger than the 15 players. Those guys who work in the front office, they were good people, but the most important part of the process is the players," Jordan said of Krause's quote.

"So, for him to say that is offensive to the way that I approach the game."

Krause set the tone entering the 1997/98 season, telling head coach Phil Jackson that this season would be his last at the helm, despite Jordan's assertion that he would not play for another coach in a Bulls uniform.

Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf intervened, handing Jackson a one-year deal worth $6 million, with the Hall of Fame coach detailing the meeting between he and Krause where the GM informed him of his plans.

"Jerry called me into his office and said, 'This is going to be your last year, I don't care if you win 82 games in a row, this will be your last year here'," Jackson said.

"So I said, 'Fine' and walked out of the room, and that was the only words that were exchanged."

Jackson went on to guide the Bulls to their sixth and final championship, before retiring. He would return to coaching just one year later, taking the head coach job at the Los Angeles Lakers where he went on to win yet another three-peat wit Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.

The Last Dance 10-part documentary premieres 9 p.m. E.T. Sunday April 19 on ESPN, with two episodes to air every week following.

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