the last dance

Thank You to The Last Dance for Introducing Us to This Guy

Michael Jordan in The Last Dance ESPN.
John Michael Wozniak and a friend. Photo-Illustration: Vulture and ESPN

Episode six of ESPN’s Michael Jordan docuseries The Last Dance was devoted to Jordan’s infamous gambling habit and the way he was obsessed with competition. Sure, yeah, whatever — we know all that. The episode’s real power was introducing viewers to a surprising fan favorite, a guy who looks like he stepped off the set of a Safdie brothers movie and into Michael Jordan’s life: John Michael Wozniak, who appeared in archival footage playing a game with quarters with M.J. before a game at the United Center. Wozniak’s drip was unimpeachable: suit, tie, shoulder-length curly hair. I mean, really. Get a load of this guy:

Wozniak was a narcotics officer who became friends with Jordan after accidentally damaging the star’s Chevy Blazer, his son told the Athletic. Wozniak later worked for Jordan full-time for two decades, and they gambled together often. Wozniak died on January 18, at age 69 after battling colon cancer.

The drip was so hard, though, that Wozniak went viral immediately after he stole Jordan’s money — and flashed his signature pose — in The Last Dance. Basketball, competition, a lovable oddball — where is his movie, Benny and Josh Safdie? I asked them, and they replied.

Unfortunately, my editors asked me to include my own tweet here. I’m not proud of the woman I’ve become. Photo: Hunter Harris/Twitter

Before his death, Wozniak was interviewed by Complex. “We experienced the superstar Michael Jordan,” he told the site. “But there were also times when everyone let their guard down and laughed at a joke.” Or maybe made some bets and lost some money, or maybe all of the above.

Thank You to The Last Dance for Introducing Us to This Guy