);
The Last Dance

How good was Michael Jordan in the 1997-98 NBA season?

This weekend, ESPN will air the first two episodes of "The Last Dance," a documentary about Michael Jordan's final season with the Chicago Bulls.

Outside of the United States, the episodes will air the following day on Netflix.

MORE: How to watch 'The Last Dance'

Ahead of the highly anticipated documentary, we've been setting the scene by looking at what the state of the NBA was in 1997-98, what made Scottie Pippen special, how nobody won under Jordan's watch, which current players match up with the roster of the "Last Dance" Bulls and much, much more.

Today, let's take a closer look at just how good Jordan still was in his last season with the Bulls and what he accomplished.

How did Jordan play in the regular season?

Incredible by anyone else's standards, pretty well by his.

Jordan appeared in all 82 games and led the league in scoring for the 10th and final time in his career with an average of 28.7 points per game. His closest competition was Shaquille O'Neal, who averaged 28.3 points per game in what was his second season with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone (27.0) was the only other player in the league to average over 25.0 points per game.

It was, however, one of the least efficient seasons of Jordan's career. In shooting 46.5 percent from the field, 23.8 percent from the 3-point line and 78.4 percent from the free throw line, he finished the season with a true shooting percentage of 53.3.

For context, that's the fourth-lowest true shooting percentage Jordan ever posted in a single season, ahead of only his two seasons with the Washington Wizards and the 1994-95 season, which is when he came back from retirement for the first time and joined the Bulls for the final 17 games of the season.

It didn't prevent Jordan from making the All-NBA First Team and winning his fifth and final MVP award - he led the Bulls to 62 wins despite Pippen missing a large chunk of the season due to injury, tying them with the Jazz for the best record in the league - but this isn't considered to be one of his best seasons. In fact, Sportscasting, Bleacher Report and Complex each ranked this as his worst MVP season.

Compared to others, Jordan's 1997-98 season is still one of the better seasons from a player his age in NBA history. According to Basketball Reference, it ranks 12th all-time in Win Shares (15.8), 18th in Value Over Replacement Player (7.1), 37th in Box Plus-Minus (6.9) and 39th in Player Efficiency Rating (25.2) among players aged 30 or older.

He might not have been at his absolute peak, but Jordan was still dominant.

How did Jordan play in the playoffs?

As he always did, Jordan took his game to another level in the playoffs.

The Bulls swept the New Jersey Nets in three games in the first round. Jordan averaged 36.3 points per game.

The Bulls took down the Charlotte Hornets in five games in the second round. Jordan averaged 29.6 points per game.

The Bulls then went to seven games with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Jordan averaged 31.7 points per game in the series and helped the Bulls advance to the NBA Finals for the third season in a row with a 28-point, nine-rebound, eight-assist showing in Game 7.

In the Finals, the Bulls faced the Jazz for the second year in a row and eliminated them in six games to complete their second three-peat. Jordan averaged 33.5 points per game in the Finals and earned his sixth Finals MVP award, the most in NBA history.

Jordan saved his best for last, going for 45 points in a game that will forever be remembered for his steal on Karl Malone and iconic shot over Bryon Russell in the closing seconds.

Jordan finished the playoffs with an average of 32.4 points per game on 46.2 percent shooting from the field, 30.2 percent from the 3-point line and 81.2 percent from the free throw line, giving him a true shooting percentage of 54.5, which was slightly better than what he posted in the regular season.

That would be the last time we'd ever see Jordan in the playoffs.

What happened next?

Following the 1997-98 season, Jordan retired for the second time in his career.

"From a career standpoint, I've accomplished everything I could as an individual," Jordan said at his press conference. "Right now I don't have the mental challenges that I've had in the past to proceed as a basketball player. I'm sure people will say that there are a lot of challenges that could evolve.

"For me, to start something and then at the middle of the season lose interest and lose my motivation is unfair to the people I'm working with and working for, and to the fans. I alleviated that by saying, 'This is the perfect time to walk away from the game.' I'm at peace with that."

He would, of course, come out of retirement again, this time to play for the Wizards in the early 2000s.

Jordan spent two seasons with the Wizards and averaged 21.2 points over 142 games. He missed the playoffs both seasons, as the Wizards won 37 games in 2002-03 and 2003-04.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

More from NBA.com

#80s
You can't tell the story of the 1980s without...
Carlan Gay
magic-bird-052720-ftr-getty.jpg
Scoring the rivalry: Magic vs. Bird
Scott Rafferty
changes-052720-ftr-getty.jpg
Four players who have become unrecognizable
Scott Rafferty
These five made the First Team? But what about the other 10 spots?
The 1980s All-Decade Team
Micah Adams
Vin Bhavnani
🎥 IG Live with OKC Thunder's Vin Bhavnani
Yash Matange
Klay Thompson vs. OKC Thunder in Game 6 of their 2016 Conference Finals series
OTD: Klay's heroic Game 6 vs. Thunder in 2016
Yash Matange
More News