During lockdown, the very depths of that first lockdown, we’re sure many Celtic players were watching ‘The Last Dance’, Scott Brown included.
Whether you follow the NBA or not, it was an absolute spectacle of a series [IMDb]. Detailing Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ famous 97-98 season, it had immense drama. In fact, as a follower of 90s basketball, I knew the story, but there were still moments where I was shocked. As sport stories go, it was fantastically produced, getting rare insights from Jordan, his coach Phil Jackson, and his team-mates.
As Jordan chased his sixth ring before retirement, Brown is at a similar juncture. Fine, he’s not retiring, but like MJ, Brown has reached iconic status at one club, after years of service. And, again, like Mike, he’s not going to want to leave with anything but silverware.
A similarly divisive figure amongst ex-pros (although, granted, Brown isn’t as nearly as marketable as prime MJ), Broony splits opinion around the Premiership. But you can’t argue with his numbers. He’s won 23 trophies during his career – another numerical similarity to Jordan.
And like the MJ, he’s been constantly queried about his future, and been doubted time and time again. He should be taking that personally, and using it as fuel to win his last Scottish Cup with Celtic.
The best possible exit is possible for Scott Brown, as it was for Michael Jordan
Just as Jordan left a Champion, so too can Celtic icon Scott Brown. Fine, the league is gone, but Celtic still have a chance to make history this season. Nobody in Scottish football has ever won 5 consecutive Scottish Cups. No-one. Not even Third Lanark [SFA].
Once MJ left the Bulls, so did coach Phil Jackson. The pieces around him, including Dennis Rodman and eventually Scotty Pippen, would leave too. The parallels are considerable. When Brown leaves, there’ll be a new cast of faces in the first-team at Celtic Park, and the Bhoys will enter a new era under an arriving head coach. Fine, the Broony Years might not get the glossy ESPN/Netflix treatment, but to us, it’ll be a defining era for our lifetimes and beyond.
Because what Scott Brown has achieved at Celtic has been utterly magnificent. And his dogged, win-at-all-costs personality has made him friends and enemies along the way. His focus on the pitch is scary in its intensity, and his famous demeanour in the tunnel is worlds away from his jovial, off-pitch personality.
Look, nobody is saying Scott Brown is to football what Jordan was to Basketball. But just as Jordan went for one Last Dance in 97-98, so is Broony as he stares down another historic Scottish Cup.
And if you ask us, it’s just as box office as any Netflix series.