Dynasties end.

In the final minutes of ESPN’s 10-part documentary “The Last Dance,” Michael Jordan was asked if it was satisfying or maddening to leave at his peak. The Chicago Bulls had just completed their second three-peat in eight years and Jordan had just won his sixth Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. But the end of the Bulls’ dynasty was etched in stone even before the 1997-98 season.

Bulls general manager Jerry Krause had repeatedly hinted that following the 1997-98 season, the team would go into rebuilding mode, trade away their stars for future assets, and let go of Phil Jackson, who eventually coached the Bulls to their second three-peat.

Jackson, after knowing the eventual fate of his Bulls coaching career, organized a pre-season meeting. The legendary coach, whom Steve Kerr had said was known for having “themes” readied for every season, had a perfect one for the impending end of the Bulls dynasty.

And so “The Last Dance” was born.

Twenty-two years later, in the final episode of the 10-part documentary, Jordan expressed his frustration over the seemingly premature end of the Bulls dynasty.

The release of the Jordan documentary, which was also streamed by Netflix, was rushed as demand for sports — specifically NBA related content — grew following the league’s forced postponement amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s maddening because I think we could’ve won seven. I really believe that. We may not have, but man, to not be able to try, that’s something that I just can’t accept. For whatever reason I just can’t accept it,” Jordan said.

Also in the finale, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf said it would have been “suicidal” to bring back team veterans Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr and Ron Harper because of their market value, and that Jackson didn’t want to go through a rebuild.

After watching the Reinsdorf clip, Jordan immediately dismissed the owner’s explanation and said that he and other team vets would have willingly signed one-year deals for a chance to win four straight titles.

But Krause, who was perceived in the documentary as the villain who stirred up internal conflicts within the Bulls organization and the architect of the dynasty’s breakup, was focused on the Bulls’ long-term plans, which made “The Last Dance” the beautiful tragedy that it is.

The rebuilding plan was there, but never came into fruition as the Bulls never reached the finals again post-Jordan era.

Endings for Jordan were never picture-perfect: his father was killed just months after the Bulls’ first three-peat. His initial retirement led him to baseball; his baseball career ended after a lockout. His iconic game-winner and final shot as a Bull was drilled in Utah, not Chicago where he played for 14 years.

But the beauty in both Jordan’s career and the all-time great Bulls dynasty lies not in the endings (and definitely not in the background where Krause worked his dark magic), but the process.

The Bulls lived through front-office pressure, trade requests, towering egos and formidable rivals, such as the John Stockton and Karl Malone-led Utah Jazz, to complete their second three-peat.

Though “The Last Dance” might seem abrupt, it provided a punctuation mark to arguably the league’s greatest dynasty, and allowed for the rise of new generations of champions.

Jackson was eventually let go, Scottie Pippen was traded to the Houston Rockets with a $65-million contract, Dennis Rodman was released and Jordan went back into retirement.

After six championships in eight years, the dynasty had finally ended.

As ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said, “It is still hard for everyone involved to digest why things ended as they did. But it usually goes that way when a good thing ends.”

“The Last Dance” documentary isn’t just a trip down NBA memory lane. It makes a huge statement against recency bias-induced NBA revisionism, and makes viewers remember the classic, all-time great Bulls team led by #23, who was one of, if not the greatest of all time. John Ezekiel J. Hirro