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Photo: Vincent Lafloret/Getty Images

"The Last Dance" premiered Sunday on ESPN, marking the first time in nearly two months that the sports world sat down to watch something together.

Why it matters: In addition to entertaining millions of self-quarantined fans, the 10-part Chicago Bulls-focused documentary will give ESPN a tentpole event to build its programming around, while providing sportswriters and other content creators (i.e. all of social media) with fresh source material during these sports-less times.

My thoughts after two episodes:

  • Would never happen today: The idea of an owner letting a GM break up a dynasty that just won three straight championships — which ultimately led to the best player in history retiring early — seems impossible and would never happen in today's NBA where superstars wield far more power.
  • 63-point game: If you had to pinpoint the exact moment when the basketball world realized MJ was different, it was probably the 1986 playoff game against the Celtics, when a 23-year-old Jordan scored 63 points on 41 shots (zero threes) the day after playing golf with Danny Ainge. Fun fact: 34 years ago today.
  • So many interviews: From Patrick Ewing breaking down Jordan's game-winning shot in the 1982 NCAA title game to Barack Obama and Bill Clinton sit-downs, the sheer numbers of interviews was astounding.
  • God bless Alan and his project: "Sirius" by The Alan Parsons Project has reigned for more than three decades as the undisputed champion of jock jams. Hearing it last night alongside footage of the Bulls taking the floor gave me goosebumps. Always will.

The big picture: "The Last Dance" — and more specifically, Michael Jordan — is the perfect vehicle to remind us what sports can provide, what athletes can symbolize, and what we lose when athletic competition is ripped away from us.

  • For the last two months, sports media has focused heavily on the business of sports — leagues, franchises, networks — because of the unprecedented impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the industry.
  • But what we all truly love about sports are not the institutions that have been built up around them, but rather the ideals and stories that sit at their center: Winning at all costs. Chasing greatness. Writing a legacy. Coming together as a team. Waking up early to put in extra work. Destiny.

The bottom line: As a culture, we love well-crafted narratives, larger-than-life characters and iconic moments. Sports are the most prolific source of all three, and the first two episodes of "The Last Dance" made that abundantly clear.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings parts of Pacific Northwest from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages, flooding and mudslides.

Why it matters: The atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, was causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood, as it slowly moved south overnight. The storm system claimed the lives of two people in Washington state after a tree fell on a vehicle amid powerful winds Sunday.

In photos: Drought-ravaged California lashed by major storm

Workers try to divert water into drains as rain pours down on Oct. 24 in Marin City, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A major storm system was pummeling Northern California and parts of the Pacific Northwest with heavy rains overnight.

The big picture: "Atmospheric river" storms, associated with a record-strong "bomb cyclone" offshore from the Pacific Northwest, have brought flooding and mudslides to parts of California that were razed by recent wildfires and in severe drought. It's also caused widespread power outages in California, Oregon and Washington state.

3 hours ago - World

Sudan's military places civilian prime minister under house arrest

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest and several other ministers were also detained Monday in what appears to be a military coup in the country, per local reports.

Why it matters: The arrests of the civilian faction in the Sudanese government came a day after U.S. envoy Jeffrey Feltman met with the head of the military faction of the Sudanese government General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and warned him against staging a coup.

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