Thierry Henry reveals what he’s learned from watching Michael Jordan in The Last Dance

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry during CD Olimpia's clash with Montreal Impact
Thierry Henry has been enjoying watching Michael Jordan in The Last Dance (Picture: Getty)

Thierry Henry says watching Michael Jordan in The Last Dance has proven to him that sportsmen and women very rarely succeed by being ‘nice’ and that ‘genius is very difficult to understand’ to the layperson watching on as a spectator.

The critically acclaimed ESPN and Netflix 10-part documentary remembers Jordan’s fabled Chicago Bulls side and their quest to win a sixth NBA title in the 1997-98 season.

Jordan’s private and professional ups and downs are recounted in detail and the series has been widely praised for its unprecedented locker room access which includes never-before-seen footage of some of the great man’s defining matches.

Michael Jordan in The Last Dance
The Last Dance has overtaken Tiger King as the most popular documentary on the planet

The docuseries has struck a chord with millions across the planet, including Arsenal and France footballing great Henry who, like MJ, transcended the world of sport to become a global cultural icon during his peak years.

And it appears Henry, a self-confessed basketball fanatic, sees himself and some of his former team-mates in Jordan and his insatiable appetite to win by any means necessary.

‘It’s kind of weird because the documentary is done ever so well. You know I love basketball. Football is football but I love basketball – all of the stories, I knew them,’ the legendary ex-Arsenal striker and current Montreal Impact manager told Sky Sports.

‘I still didn’t get something I didn’t know on the show. I know all the stories.

‘But what I saw from the episode at the weekend is a champion is a special person that people, if you’re not at the level of the guy, you cannot understand what’s in the head of the guy. Genius is very difficult to understand.

Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, Ron Harper and Toni Kukoc all feature heavily in the documentary
Chicago Bulls stars Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, Ron Harper and Toni Kukoc all feature heavily in the documentary (Picture: Getty)

‘People will say you’re crazy because you used to fight or whatever you used to do and I used to go like, “Yeah, they’re right”. You meet his level or you go.

‘You don’t win six rings and two three-peats by being nice.

‘Kobe [Bryant] was like that. Michael Jordan was like that. I played with guys like that. If not, then it is what it is. Guys like that make you listen, they make you listen.’

The Last Dance recently overtook Tiger King as the most in-demand documentary on the planet and its director, Jason Hehir, admits he did not anticipate the reaction.

‘We’ve seen these episodes literally hundreds times in the process of cutting them, getting notes back, revising them, so in a lot of ways we’re sick of them, especially the early episodes,’ he told the BBC.

‘We started editing those early episodes in September of 2018 so nothing was lost on us. I can lip-sync those episodes.

‘Of course, I did not anticipate the reaction that it’s getting but I think we’re at a moment in time where the whole world is going through a common experience of being isolated from each other.

‘People are held captive in front of their TVs, their laptops and their tablets and they’re looking for new entertainment, especially the sports world is looking for anything fresh.

‘I also think the subject matter is nostalgic and fun and safe and brings people back to a happy place. Whether it’s people who are remembering what it was like to experience that or if they’re sharing it with their kids now.

‘One of the best thing about sports is the way that it connects us. Ultimately it’s just a bunch of people wearing the same laundry every day and playing a game but it connects us outside. It’s not about the ball going through the hoop, it’s about calling your dad after a game, or high-fiving your friend across the room, or texting someone that a game is on.

‘We are fundamentally disconnected, globally, these days. So who connected us more in a sports sense that Michael Jordan did? Everyone had an opinion on him and most of the opinions were favourable around the world.

‘So the timing of it is uncanny and I think that it’s a safe place for people to go to for a couple of hours a week.’

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