With live sports sidelined and movie theaters and bars across the country shuttered, Americans have turned to gaming and streaming services for nearly all of their entertainment needs.
Other than an occasional Zoom meeting, moon howling break, and/or drive-by child’s birthday party, the country has been staying in to watch and binge their favorite shows in record numbers since March. The one piece of media that has come to define the stay at home and safer at home era is ESPN and Netflix’ The Last Dance.
Jason Hehir’s 10-part docu-series centers around the final run of the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the ‘90s and along with basketball, it has subtly brought Corvettes into the consciousness of nearly every household in America, shining a positive, even cool, light upon the crossed flags brand. Now that the show is reaching a second wave of customers on Netflix, we want to take a the opportunity to highlight Michael Jordan’s Corvette habit.
Right off the bat, in Episode I of The Last Dance, when we are introduced to Jordan, circa 1997, he is pulling up to the first practice of the ’97-’98 NBA season behind the wheel of a black C5 Corvette Coupe. His nonchalant parking in this scene became the first of a nearly endless barrage of viral moments hailing from the show, bringing thousands of free social media mentions to GM’s flagship sports car.
Lotta takeaways at the under-16 media timeout of #LastDance, but the biggest is that Michael Jordan's parking spot at Berto was wherever in the hell he wanted it to be.— Joey Wagner (@mrwagner25) April 20, 2020
A little late, but I just started watching The Last Dance about 10 minutes ago and I love that Michael Jordan just pulls up to the practice facility and doesn't even park his Corvette in a park spot, he just leaves it where ever. That's gangster af— DOVID-19 (@2Davez) April 20, 2020
Michael Jordan parks exactly how I expected Michael Jordan to park. The world has a “reserved parking for Michael Jordan” sign.— Feitelberg (@FeitsBarstool) April 20, 2020
Only thing that would’ve been better than this is if he blocked Jerry Krause in everyday— garrison ward (@MisterGWard) April 20, 2020
You get the idea, Jordan and, by association, his Corvette was being talked about… a lot, just a few minutes into the ten-hour series; you can’t buy this kind of organic marketing!
As the show progresses through both the ’97-’98 season and Jordan’s entire career via flashbacks, we see a number of the vehicles at Da Air Man’s disposal throughout the years. At different times, Jordan is seen driving two separate Range Rovers, a Ferrari 550 Maranello, a pair of 911 Turbos, and a Mercedes S600. But even with all of this high-end European metal at his disposal, Mike still chooses America’s Sports Car more than any other make or model in The Last Dance.
Even business-minded Bulls fans might not know that Chicagoland/Northwest Indiana Chevrolet dealers were one of the first sponsors to sign Jordan after he was drafted to the Bulls from the University of North Carolina (here he is slinging the Chevy Celebrity (sorry for the irritating intro, this add is hard to find!) and an early C4). This humble partnership continued into the ‘90s. Even when His Airness brought three consecutive NBA titles back to Chicago and won a gold medal as the face of the Dream Team, he still found time to shoot low-budget Blazer ads.
Jordan’s first retirement from basketball and subsequent transition to Major League Baseball’s Chicago White Sox is detailed in The Last Dance, episode VII. This episode is when we next see Jordan piloting a Corvette and, this time, it’s a Torch Red 1994 ZR-1.
Bob Greene of the Chicago Tribune was along for the ride during the show’s famous clip of the Jumpman signing a kid’s ball in traffic then peeling out in the King of the Hill. Greene provides an excellent behind-the-scenes look at how Jordan came to have a manufacturer plated Z at spring training in his piece, The Man Inside the Red Corvette.
The show’s final Corvette sighting comes in the very next episode, when Jordan sent the fax heard ‘round the basketball world. After a nearly two-year absence from the NBA, he was coming back to the Bulls for the final months of the ’95 season.
With ravenous members of the media surrounding Chicago’s practice facility, the Berto Center, the man that they all wanted to get a glimpse of finally arrives in a familiar four-wheeled silhouette. It is another C4, but this one is painted the tell-tale Ruby Red of the 40th Anniversary Edition. Further scrutiny reveals a tiny fender emblem that reveals the contents of the clamshelled engine compartment to those in-the-know. Air Jordan arrived to the frenzy behind the power of another 32-valve beast; one of just 245 40th Anniversary ZR-1s ever made.
In the time since the cameras stopped rolling and the Bulls capped off their improbable run of six NBA Championships in eight years, Michael Jordan has been seen in a C6-based Cadillac XLR but it is unknown if his love affair with the Plastic Fantastic has continued beyond that in retirement. If it has, we suspect that the GOAT would find today’s Stingray to be the finest dance partner that his friends at Chevrolet have ever produced.
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