Obama described as ‘former Chicago resident’ in new Michael Jordan documentary
Former President Obama wasn’t identified with his typical title as the 44th president of the United States in the first installments of a Michael Jordan docuseries that aired Sunday on ESPN, but rather as a “former Chicago resident.”
A graphic in “The Last Dance” identified Obama as a “former Chicago resident” and another labeled former President Clinton a “former Arkansas governor.”
Twitter users were quick to call out the designation as clever and an understatement.
— Sam Roberts (@notsam) April 20, 2020
— Shy Guy (@ShyGuy_TWreck) April 20, 2020
“Barack Obama…former Chicago resident”#TheLastDance
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) April 20, 2020
Documentary director Jason Hehir explained in an interview that the description was intentional.
He told Richard Deitsch of The Athletic that he wanted everyone interviewed in the series about the NBA great to have an “organic connection” to the story.
“Barack Obama is not the kind of guy that I can find his number and text him. Michael had a connection. But I was pretty adamant that we don’t have people in here who don’t have an organic connection to the story,” Hehir said. “I think the temptation is because Michael was super famous, let’s get as many super famous people in here as possible.”
On the subject of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton in #TheLastDance, I thought director Jason Hehir provided a great answer to me on the use of celebrity in a doc like this. Explains the chyron for Obama too.
Here you go: pic.twitter.com/LUrXFDFJOF
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) April 20, 2020
Similarly, he explained the temptations would be to interview Clinton because he was president in the 1990s.
“My question was, okay, 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?” he said. “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 next two installments of the 10-part series will air next Sunday on ESPN.