Most people know Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States, but Michael Jordan sees him as just another Chicagoan.
The first two episodes of the NBA legend’s highly anticipated 10-part ESPN docuseries, The Last Dance, aired on Sunday, April 19, and included an on-camera interview with the former commander in chief. Strangely, Obama, 58, was billed as a “former Chicago resident” rather than “former president,” which made several confused viewers flock to Twitter to share their thoughts.
“Ah yes. I knew I recognized that guy, he’s the famous former Chicago resident,” one Twitter user wrote. Another tweeted, “Calling Obama a ‘former Chicago resident’ is quite the understatement.”
Ah yes. I knew I recognized that guy, he’s the famous former Chicago resident pic.twitter.com/zK1eF7TklC
— Luggage Guy Trent (@BarstoolTrent) April 20, 2020
— Shy Guy (@ShyGuy_TWreck) April 20, 2020
Many viewers thought the moment was hilarious. Radio personality Sam Roberts tweeted, “Whoever’s writing these captions is the MVP of this doc,” pointing out that the series also referred to Bill Clinton as “former Arkansas governor.”
— Sam Roberts (@notsam) April 20, 2020
It turns out that the former POTUSes’ titles were intentional. Jason Hehir, who directed The Last Dance, told The Athletic earlier this month that he wanted to emphasize his subjects’ “organic connection” to Jordan, 57, who played his final NBA game in 2003.
“I think the temptation is because Michael was super famous, let’s get as many super famous people in here as possible,” the director, 43, explained to the sports website. “There were conflicting philosophies amongst all of the [production] partners of what makes a good documentary and what makes a documentary sizzle. I’m a filmmaker first and I just want to tell the story of this team as if they were not super famous. Who were the human beings who make up this team and how did they become famous and how did they handle that fame?”
He continued, “That was an interesting part of this whole thing. The good thing is that we all have the common goal — that it should be fantastic and everyone should enjoy watching it. I think the temptation would be to say, ‘Well, Bill Clinton was president in the 1990s. He has to talk about Michael because he was the president when Michael was playing and he saw Michael play live.’ My question was, ‘OK, what is Bill Clinton going to say that is different than any other fan would say about watching Michael play? Why should he be considered an authority on basketball just because he’s Bill Clinton?’ Now if Bill Clinton says I was governor of Arkansas when Scottie Pippen was in high school and I saw Scottie play, that’s organic to the story and much more interesting.”
The Last Dance airs on ESPN Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.
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