Where's Luc Longley In 'The Last Dance'? Aussie Viewers Missing NBA Great
‘The Last Dance’ has been a must-watch for sport-starved viewers, but Australians have been left wondering why homegrown Bull Luc Longley hasn't made an appearance.
Longley played for the Chicago Bulls alongside Michael Jordan, during the GOAT's final season with the team in 1997-98.
The Netflix documentary follows Jordan’s final season and includes interviews from his former teammates including Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman.
It also features other NBA stars Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing and plenty more.
But the lack of Longley is noticeable to fans. He wasn't interviewed for the documentary and he's barely been mentioned in the 10 part series.
'The Last Dance' Director Jason Hehir told ABC News that “budgetary concern” meant the Australian could not take part.
"It was not due to our unwillingness to find him, or his unwillingness to participate,” he said.
"So I regret for our Australian audience, that Luc doesn't sit down for an interview in this but his face and his presence certainly were felt."
Longley hasn't publicly addressed the chatter about his lack of airtime, but fellow Aussie basketballer Chris Anstey offered his thoughts about it.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Anstey spoke about his first meeting with Longley, crediting the player for helping him adjust to NBA life.
“Before I was drafted to the NBA, I had never met Luc Longley,” Anstey wrote.
“A few weeks after I had moved into my Dallas apartment, my phone rang. I was surprised to hear an Australian accent. “G’ day Chris, it’s Luc Longley. How’s it going?” During the call, Luc offered me advice for navigating the NBA and what to look out for, from travel to clubs and teammates.”
The post continues with Anstey's story of his first meeting with Longley, during a night out with the Bulls.
“Everyone had beers together, a few smoked cigars, and my family and friends left with the Chicago Bulls in the early hours of the morning,” he said.
“What the group did not see just before we left was Luc putting his arm around the owner to thank him for a great night. They certainly did not see Luc hand him a wad of cash to cover the entire bill and a generous tip.”
Longley was the first Australian to play in the NBA. He played for four teams over 10 years and won three championships with the Bulls between 1996 and 1998.
He also represented Australia at three Olympics; 1992, 1996 and 2000 — the Sydney Olympics costing him $20,000 of his own money, according to Anstey.
“What very few knew was that because only NBL contracts were covered by Basketball Australia’s insurance in the event of an injury, Luc had been required to take out his own contract insurance for his $US6 million a year contract,” Anstey claimed.
"Luc was out of pocket over $20,000 to represent Australia at the Sydney Olympics. He never asked for a cent and never bought it up amongst the criticism levelled at him.”
Anstey finished his Facebook post joking that he would never ask Longley about Michael Jordan, and labelled the great a “pioneer for Australian Basketball”.
"As the world watches 'The Last Dance', and the spotlight once again shines on the Chicago Bulls, Luc is again conspicuous to many in his silence. But my bet is that Luc is not silent to those around him. He is likely sharing a much broader perspective on the phenomenon that he was a part of. He is unlikely silent to those who are interested in more than the 3 and a bit seasons he lived in the centre of the sporting world.
"Luc Longley paved the way to the NBA for Australian basketball players to follow. He also held some hands while they took their first steps on the path that he paved. He does not self-promote and gives of himself without expecting or needing anything in return.
"I remain grateful for the time he took to reach out to me and offer his support and advice. Grateful for the memories he gave my family and friends. Grateful for his generosity."