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Bahamian Andy Thompson Executive Producer Behind Espn Documentary

As of Tuesday, April 21, 2020

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Andy Thompson

#By RENALDO DORSETT

#Tribune Sports Reporter

#rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

#NOTED Bahamian producer, director and documentarian Andy Thompson is the brainchild behind the latest film that has been the most discussed topic in the world of sports.

#Thompson is the executive producer behind the ESPN and Netflix documentary – The Last Dance – which chronicles the story of Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls.

#The first two episodes of the highly anticipated 10-part series aired Sunday night on ESPN.

#Thompson, the brother of Bahamian basketball icon Mychal Thompson and uncle of Golden State Warriors All-Star Klay Thompson, approached current NBA commissioner Adam Silver with the idea of the all access documentary in 1997 just after the Bulls won their fifth title. “No one in the NBA had ever done this,” Andy Thompson told the Associated Press.

#“And you’re not just doing this with a run of the mill NBA team. You’re doing this with the greatest player in the history of the game in Michael Jordan, who was very protective of his image and his privacy.”

#Thompson and Jordan first connected at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and the relationship strengthened working on “NBA Inside Stuff.”

#Jordan also had an admiration for the elder Thompson brother, who was the No.1 overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1978 NBA Draft and went on to win two NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.

#Jordan took to wearing puka shell necklaces, popularised in NBA circles by Thompson and reportedly “once scribbled his name on a notebook as “Mychal Jordan” until his mother saw it and wasn’t pleased.”

#“Because of his respect and admiration for my brother, obviously, Michael and I connected,” Andy said. “[In the locker room, I knew] when to shut up, when to be a fly on the wall. That gave me a huge advantage in dealing with players. I wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t intimidated. I could speak their language, so I could develop relationships quicker because of that. And that’s what helped me navigate the course of the season because access didn’t just happen overnight. There was a feeling out process for us and the team and the team for us.”

#When Thompson first broached the subject with silver in 1997, the latter served as an executive in NBA Entertainment before his ascent to the commissioner.

#“It’s almost hard to understate how famous Michael was and how popular this Bulls team was,” Silver told The Associated Press. “And so, Andy’s view was, ‘We need to find a way to capture this team in its glory.’ And there were no such things as multi-part documentaries on sports on television back then.”

#While Mychel got the accolades of rising to the pinnacle of the sport in the NBA, the younger Thompson brother was an accomplished player in his own right through the collegiate and professional levels.

#Andy followed Mychal’s path from the Bahamas to the University of Minnesota basketball programme and went on to play professionally in the Philippines.

#Thompson’s storied post-playing career took him to NBA Entertainment where he became one of the most notable raconteurs in the organisation.

#In 2014, his production group won an Emmy Award for the documentary “The Doctor”, which chronicled the life and times of legendary Julius Erving.

#Later that year, he followed with an episode of NBA Revealed when he documented Mychal’s return to the Bahamas as the government prepared to rename the entrance to the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre which also provided an opportunity for Klay to reacquaint himself with his Bahamian roots.

#In the episode, Klay visits landmarks of Mychal’s childhood and narrates the story of his father’s rise from the Bahamas to the NBA.

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