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Michael Jordan, Above and Beyond (1996)

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Title: Michael Jordan, Above and Beyond (Video 1996)

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7 May 1996 (USA)  »

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Edited into Ultimate Jordan (2001) See more »

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Jordan's return and path to 4th championship; cut short
9 August 2003 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

"Michael Jordan Above and Beyond" provides a much-needed look at Michael Jordan's fantastic return from retirement in 1995. The first 20 minutes or so recap his retirement, attempt at minor league baseball, and his dealing with his father's murder. It picks up when it starts looking at the huge frenzy that was his return to the NBA in the Spring of 1995. It covers his mediocre first game back against the Pacers, his Friday night Chicago return against the Magic, and his subsequent return to form with a game-winning shot against Atlanta, and a career night dropping 55 on the Knicks. It then covers the Bulls' disappointing defeat in the playoffs at the hands of the Magic, the first (and last) time the Jordan-led Bulls would finish the season without a trophy since 1990.

The documentary then covers the summer of '95, which Michael spent making "Space Jam" and getting into the best shape of his life, playing basketball in a gym specially designed for him on the Burbank set. What would ensue is perhaps the greatest season in the history of all sports, the Bulls' dominant 72-10 run through the entire league. Unfortunately, this documentary stops shortly after the All-Star Game, so the momentous 70th win, subsequent MVP trophy, and Championship run concluding with a Finals victory over the Seattle Supersonics are all not covered. A shame, as it could have been twice as long, covered all that, remained interesting, and been 4 times as good. Instead, this documentary fails to document the Bulls' magnificent season.

It does provide insight into Jordan's desire to win, and special attention is (deservedly) given to the February 2, 1996 matchup between Michael's Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers with a newly-returned Magic Johnson. It wasn't a particularly close finish, but it was a fantastic night to watch basketball, and the game remains the highest-rated cable sports event in history. Narrated by "E.R." star Eriq LaSalle, "Michael Jordan Above and Beyond" is good, but cut way too short. 8/10

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