In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Burns reveals that he hasn’t watched “The Last Dance” and he fundamentally disagrees with how it was made.
Michael Jordan’s production company, Jump 23, is listed as a partner on the series, meaning that he could have had some say in how it portrayed him. Burns said that he would “never, never, never, never” agree to a partnership like that on a documentary.
“If you are there influencing the very fact of it getting made, it means that certain aspects that you don’t necessarily want in aren’t going to be in, period,” he said. “And that’s not the way you do good journalism…and it’s certainly not the way you do good history, my business.”
He added that it is “the opposite direction of where we need to be going” in the filmmaking world.
Burns won an Emmy for his own sports miniseries “Baseball” in 1994, and three more for “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” and “The Civil War.” He’s also been nominated for two Oscars throughout his nearly 40-year career in filmmaking.
“The Last Dance” has been a huge hit for ESPN while most of the network’s sports programming has been shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic. An average of 6.1 million viewers tuned into the first two episodes, making them the most watched original broadcasts on the channel since 2004.