This has been an unusual but revealing time for sports. It has also been a moment where sports have provided lessons beyond its traditional boundaries. The two biggest sports stories seem to be the NFL Draft and the Michael Jordan “Last Dance” documentary.
The Draft has set viewership records and highlights the importance of Hope to fandom. At a time when sports are on hiatus, the Draft provides a sense of normalcy and almost definitionally points to hopes for better times ahead. Usually the draft inspires hope at the individual franchise level, but this time around it also inspires hope for the next season.
The Jordan documentary showcases one of the legendary figures in sports. The presentation has all the trappings of a drama – legendary heroes, epic challenges, and villains. But most importantly, it tells the story of a legendary player that we all share. The draft lets fans look forward, but the Jordan legend lets fans look backwards.
Hope and legend are both relevant beyond sports. Being the new upcoming things is useful in marketing, entertainment and politics. And likewise, having a legacy of greatness is useful across these arenas as well.
While last week's podcast focused on the NFL Draft and the hope it provides to fans, this week's focuses on the legendary Bulls-Pistons rivalry, the Bulls' embrace of a former enemy in Dennis Rodman, and what this can teach us about fandom.