NBA junkies looking for a fix after the Detroit Pistons derailed the Los Angeles Lakers’ chances for another championship have two overwhelming sets of DVDs to satiate their addiction.
First, the history of Michael Jordan and his team is regurgitated in the NBA Dynasty Series: Chicago Bulls 1990s (Warner Home Video, $49.99).
Through more than 15 hours of highlights and full games, the four-disc, double-sided set captures virtually every significant moment in Da Bulls’ incredible decade of dominance.
For the first time, all six championship season promotional films, originally available on VHS, have been included along with one critical game in its television broadcast entirety for each championship.
After a five-minute consolidation of Bulls history from 1966 to 1984 by Spero Dedes, the Jordan magic begins as he and his teammates claim their rings against the likes of Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Gary Payton.
Among the full games available (sans commercials), viewers get to immerse themselves in the Bulls winning their first title in Game 5 of the 1991 series, watch Jordan score 35 points against Portland in Game 1 of the 1992 finals and see his Airness in the most soap-operatic performance of his career during the 1997 NBA Finals, in which the sick superstar literally wills himself to greatness and then collapses on teammate Scottie Pippen.
Next up, NBA Dynasty Series: L.A. Lakers Complete History (Warner Home Video, $69.92) crams more than 22 hours of power and glory into five, double-sided discs and traces a much richer history of the team named after the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Once again, Spero Dedes begins the marathon by introducing the 1947 Minneapolis Lakers, followed by seven previously released highlight compilations. The most nostalgic is a look at the 1953 Minneapolis Lakers and star George Mikan.
Also, nine game broadcasts complement the highlight reels and offer quite the contrast to Jordan’s Bulls by showcasing a wider range of stars, such as Magic Johnson and his baby hook heroics in Game 4 of the 1987 finals or Shaquille O’Neal and his dominance in Game 5 of the 2001 finals, that have allowed the Lakers to succeed consistently over the years.
By far the best of the bunch is Game 5 of the 1972 NBA Finals against the New York Knicks. Commentator Keith Jackson and analyst Bill Russell call the classic, which featured towering center Wilt Chamberlain vs. Bill Bradley, with players like Phil Jackson and Pat Riley coming off the bench.
Though both NBA Dynasty sets contain enormous amounts of classic footage, the creators failed to take advantage of the DVD’s flexible medium.
It would have been nice to hear an optional commentary track over any of the full games by either the major or secondary stars involved. Also, the discs could have contained multiple camera angles on crucial shots or PC-DVD ROM features, including player statistics, multimedia biographies or even Web links to the team’s pages.