Ten Concerns Christians Should Have with "The Last Dance"

Ten Concerns Christians Should Have with “The Last Dance”

If captivating is a fitting word for a basketball documentary, then “The Last Dance,” featuring Michael Jordan, did just that. In listening to several sports commentators, the majority agreed that the cure for COVID-19 was the documentary, which is totally committed to one man, and at times, to the detriment of his teammates.

That alone should raise concern for followers of Christ. The documentary was an exposition of human nature in sin, and for anyone to think that it was a “tour de force” for our stay at home orders/guidelines, they are all sadly mistaken.

So, please let me share from the 10-part documentary, ten concerns Christians should have with the Last Dance:

1. Jordan Dishonors Our Savior
There is no mistaking here. Anyone using the name of our Savior outside of worship and humility before the One who created them has no respect for the Christian faith and practice. Muslim religions have a zero-tolerance for such behavior, but Christ is so merciful that to blaspheme the name of Christ is not an unpardonable sin.

Jordan’s actions are infringing on the name of Christ and the way the world celebrates one man, Jordan; the outcry of the saints should resonate in tears and prayers for him. Yes, Michael says he is the “black Jesus”. That, my friends, is beyond dishonoring to point-blank mockery.

How is it possible to say it was the best series when it mocked and despised the Savior who sacrificed His life for us? Christ’s death was no light matter; His sacrifice was the ultimate price to pay for our sins. His name is above all names; Christ is Savior and Lord.

2. ESPN has no Respect for Our Children
Before Covid-19, I do not recall networks like ESPN airing profanity, until now. Although federal guidelines do not prohibit them, it is manifestly clear that ESPN lives according to its own rules of deep, sickening, damning, degrading depravity.

Acceptable profanity is not an “adult language”; it is an irresponsible language. Curse words are expressions of apathy, an unholy indifference toward God, who created the beauty of communication. God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit speak a language of infinite purity. Dirty or harsh words grieve the triune God because they are a gross misrepresentation of the honor we have as His creatures to speak to each other in ways that we can understand and respect.

Shame on ESPN! They have no respect for the young ones who watched it. A warning that adult language is present before airing Jordan’s dirty laundry will not deter irresponsible parents from excusing their children, the very children they are cursing out anyway.

Shame on ESPN! And may God show mercy toward us for thinking that the documentary was titanic. If it was a momentous event, when you square it up with moral and ethical responsibility from Scripture, it sinks to the depths of depravity’s ocean.

3. One man is the Hero of His Stories
I will confess, I did not/could not watch the entire series. Just from watching snippets, I saw enough to leave me with the impression that Jordan thinks he has done no wrong. Everyone else was either for him or against him. His drive for success was always in the right, and if anyone got in his way, he would take a note of it.

But I must ask: Who needs that kind of fuel for their fire if the glory of God motivates them? Who needs to hate a fellow athlete or a coach to win if they are the better talent and the hardest worker?

Jordan’s delusional thinking needs to be exposed because it is the epitome of sin’s deception. You already have all you need to succeed, but instead of virtue primarily motivating, vices are the motivating factor. Beware, saints, when you celebrate a documentary where a man’s sins find adoration from a sinful world.
4. Bitterness and Disrespect is the Real Winner
Jordan is a bitter man. He remembers the wrongs done to him on the basketball court. If a fellow athlete claims to have guarded him well, he gives them no credit but launches grenade after grenade of excuses for their success over him.

Jordan curses others in the most blatantly disrespectful way, and can we call it a sign of respect? How can we, as reasonable people, think now that harsh words, profane words, hateful words, take on a different character because Michael Jordan uses them? That is inconceivable and only acceptable when we exalt humanity.
5. ESPN Endorses the Practice of Hateful Insults
If you think this is long, you endured a ten-part documentary, and an athlete told your God, “no thanks, I did this on my own?” Now a man whom the world calls the greatest ever to play, berates his teammates, hates coaches, goes on a tirade, and we call it passion?

Like the rest of the world, ESPN, are you saying that using hateful insults toward others to get them to perform, is acceptable? What we call harassment on the job, you call passion in sports? Can we justify this in the name of success or winning? Can we say, he won six championships doing it his way and not God’s way? People made in God’s image, can we treat them disparagingly for the name of success?
6. The World Immortalizes Depravity
Sins are just a part of the “game” of life, and one man who is the most recognizable athlete gets a free pass on sin. Now, to be clear, we are all guilty before God as sinners. We are all lawbreakers and guilty by nature. The difference is whether we admit to our sin and guilt and turn from them, trusting in Christ alone for our salvation.

In watching the series, I could not help but think about the multiple lives drifting in sin’s deception and the foolishness of riches. Are we that low in our thoughts to believe the “immortality” or enshrinement in a sports hall of fame is something remarkable?

The question from Our Savior in Matthew 16, verse 26, is so fitting for Jordan and others, “what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits His soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

And for Jordan or anyone living for this life alone, are you genuinely happy or at peace with your earthly riches and success? If so, why are you still talking about the past as if it is still the present? Ecclesiastes says the rich without God is never really at peace and are often in worry over the future of their riches (Ecclesiastes 2:18-26).

7. Holding Grudges Over Child’s Play Wins
Did you see that part of folly? Can anyone hold grudges over a child’s game? The answer is yes, as we all can hold grudges over the most mundane of issues. If you were watching (not only as a fan of basketball but above all as a follower of Christ), you did see grudge matches. ‘If you hurt me and I feel it, that is the only fuel I need to dismantle your team.’

Okay, you may retort, ‘he is only using it to gain an advantage.’ To answer that retort, please see number 3. Proverbs 18, verse 19 says, “A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.” If we hold grudges over small matters, how can true reconciliation come to light?

No doubt, Michael Jordan receives respect from some of his teammates, but I would venture to say that a few other teammates who think impartially were not impressed by his antics. That should sadden us. Are we not in a world of deep and unyielding hostility? If Christ reconciles sinners to God, is there any way we can enjoy the perpetual grudge matches on “The Last Dance” between grown men who were playing the child’s game?

8. Jordan Credits Zen Buddhism
Yes, he gave all credit to “that Zen Buddhism stuff.” He said that it works. We know that God grants skills, abilities, gifts, and talents. When you hear unbelievers giving credit to foolishness, it should not surprise, but it should leave an uncomfortable feeling.

Millions of people are turning to false religions just to get in shape, to think better, and now to deal with “mental illness.” Our athletes are the new pioneers in the field of mental health or the awareness of psychological problems in our society.

Without question, issues are affecting the mind, but mental problems have a source, and it does not always begin with the brain or the cognitive part of our anatomy. Additionally, all of our issues have, at its root, sin. That has to be first in the order of things to resolve before moving forward. The world, on the other hand, would prefer success without the Savior, a good life without God; peace without the Prince of peace.  
9. Sports Hero Worship Obscures Blatant Sins
If you are not keen and watching closely, you are numb to the sins. We cannot expect sinful people to admit they are wrong until God gives them life, but I am more concerned about our response to their actions.

Gross immorality is widespread in sports. It is almost routine and an expectation we are at home with now. Let me add what I think is deafeningly loud. Our athletes are in the community and doing good deeds there. Then you have a few who curse the president when Scripture commands us to honor him, whether or not we agree with his policies. Are we grieved over the sins we see?

I cannot say how often I hear sick language during a game on the court. Athletes are cursing at the referees with cold and disparaging remarks. These referees, they are fathers and mothers, and they have to endure crude and hateful language from athletes? That is concerning.

10. Jordan’s Misguided Beliefs are Eternally Damning
The loss of Jordan’s father was genuinely moving. At that moment, we saw a glimpse of the love and guidance his father gave to him. That was special.

What saddens me is the popular lie claiming that everyone is going to a better place, or that they are in heaven watching over us. Where did this philosophy originate? To put it mildly, that is the lie we tell ourselves. We just cannot imagine anyone going to hell if they were ‘good’ people. We cannot conceive the words of our Savior, who clearly defined two paths with two destinations. Christ said in Matthew 13, verse 7, one way was to eternal life for those who turned to Him for salvation, the other way for those who rejected the gospel.

May I speak to Michael Jordan and others. We can believe what we think is right, but someone is right. Are we going to rely on years of speculation or an eternally true and living God, who graciously reveals Himself to us in creation, through His Son, and the Scripture?
Yes, we have three witnesses testifying to the truthfulness of God. He will judge all who did not believe in His Son Jesus Christ for salvation, but lovingly offers hope in Christ. When we turn from our stubbornness in sin and selfishness, when we humbly come to God, pleading for the gift of salvation that only He can give, He will forgive and save us.

No one is in a better place if they refuse to trust in Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord. If they refuse, they will spend an eternity in physical and conscious torment in hell. Thankfully, God offers hope to us all through Christ Jesus and rescues sinners from the wrath they deserve and gives them eternal life.

The Last Dance was a display of evil masquerading in the apparel of success as an excuse to indulge in sin.

It was one of the saddest sports commentaries in history.