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1998: The Year Of MJ’s ‘Last Dance,’ ESPN was innovating and forecasting

Prepare to watch the concluding episodes of The Last Dance on Sunday with this snapshot of ESPN milestones in 1998, Michael Jordan's final championship season

The Last Dance concludes with Episodes 9 and 10 airing Sunday, May 17 beginning at 9 ET on ESPN (TV-MA) and ESPN2 (TV-14-L).

The documentary series covers Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ quest for a sixth NBA Championship in 1998, the season that Coach Phil Jackson referred to as “The Last Dance.”

In the spirit of 1998, The Undefeated takes fans back to that year with the newly launched website “The Culture.”

Here’s what else ESPN was up to in 1998:

Jan. 15, 1998: ESPN and ABC Sports announce agreement for exclusive and complete coverage of soccer’s Women’s World Cup ’99 to be held in the U.S.

The U.S. Women’s National Team celebrates the 1999 Women’s World Cup victory over China in Pasadena, Calif. (Craig Sjodin/ABC Photo)

Feb. 27: ESPN debuts SkyCam (NHL, Florida at Detroit)

(Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)

March 23: ESPN The Magazine debuts.

The premier issue of ESPN The Magazine features Kobe Bryant, Eric Lindros, Kordell Stewart and current ESPN MLB analyst Alex Rodriguez on the cover. (ESPN The Magazine)

March 31: Debut of ESPN Radio’s MLB coverage (Cleveland at Seattle). Charlie Steiner and Kevin Kennedy provided the play-by-play and color commentary, respectively. Three eventual Baseball Hall Of Famers played for Seattle in the game: Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez and Randy Johnson.

Summer: ESPN/ESPN2/ABC Sports provides exclusive and complete coverage of the 1998 World Cup Soccer Tournament.

Sept. 7: ESPN’s Cubs vs. Cardinals game (Mark McGwire’s record-tying 61st home run) had an average audience of 10,610,000 viewers, still ESPN’s most-watched MLB regular-season game ever. (Catch ESPN’s upcoming 30 for 30 on the subject, “Long Gone Summer”)

Sept. 27: ESPN debuts “1st and Ten” yellow line on the Cincinnati at Baltimore NFL telecast.

(Kansas City Star)
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