ESPN's 10-part documentary on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls season, "The Last Dance", is extremely in-depth as it details all the ins-and-outs of Michael Jordan's final season with the Bulls while also touching on a plethora of other major moments from throughout his illustrious career. However, there's so much lore surrounding Jordan's rise from relatively unknown prospect to arguably the greatest player in basketball history, that even a 10-part documentary can't fit all of the anecdotes in.
During a recent appearance on "The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz," Jason Hehir, the director of the documentary, revealed his favorite Jordan story that he was ultimately unable to fit into the documentary, and it involved Jordan's high school coach embellishing his stats to help him land at an exclusive camp. It also involved Jordan working as a waiter in the kitchen in order to remain at the camp. Here's what Hehir had to say:
"Everyone knows the story of him being cut. We had to cover that, but that's kind of common knowledge. But his rise between sophomore year and senior year, his high school coach finagling him into five-star basketball camps by lying about his stats. He was embellishing his stats just to get him in there because he was not on the map at all. No one was coming down to look at high school kids in Wilmington, North Carolina. He was there for a week and that's what his parents could afford, and he did so well that first week that he got MVP of the entire camp.
You had Patrick Ewing, Len Bias and some other guys were at the camp as well, but Michael, or Mike, at that point, blew everybody away. They begged him to stay for a second week because more college coaches wanted to see him play, and the parents said 'we can't afford it.' So they said 'OK, we'll pay for him if he works in the kitchen as a waiter for all the other kids.' Michael got MVP that second week and he was a waiter serving kids fruit punch and grilled cheeses and then going out and wasting these kids later on on the court ... Little anecdotes like that, I would have loved to get it in, but we had a lot of story to tell and it's all grounded in that '97-98 season, so at a certain point you have to kill some darlings, as Hemmingway would say."
This goes to show you that every time you think you know everything that there is to know about Jordan's career, another layer to the legend gets revealed. The mental picture of Jordan working as a waiter to his peers and then dominating them when it came time to play ball -- serving them both on and off the court, you could say -- is a funny one. The story also serves to show how Jordan's ability to rise to, and above, his competition started at a young age, and it clearly never faded.