Connect with us
Moment of Truth Review
Image via IMDB

TV

Moment of Truth Takes a New Look at the Murder of Michael Jordan’s Father

Moment of Truth Review

If you got through the quarantine period by watching a phalanx of true crime documentaries, followed by The Last Dance, a new documentary is debuting this week that combines elements of both. 

Moment of Truth, which debuts all of its episodes on the streaming service IMDB TV on April 2, is a deep dive into the 1993 murder of James Jordan, the father of Michael Jordan. It’s a five-part look at the elder Jordan’s murder, the investigation, and charges. The series, in which each episode is between 27 and 55 minutes. is often compelling, although it’s not clear why exactly it wasn’t just released as a standalone documentary. 

The story of James Jordan’s death is familiar to sports fans, even if they’re too young to remember it happening. It was dealt with extensively in The Last Dance, mostly placed in the context of Michael Jordan’s relationship with his father, and how James Jordan’s death inspired his son’s retirement from basketball later that year, and his brief foray into minor league baseball in 1994. The story of James Jordan’s death was previously told in the early 30 for 30 documentary Jordan Rides the Bus, which followed His Airness’s abbreviated baseball career. 

Moment of Truth goes much more in-depth over the course of its five episodes, and eventually settles into a coherent argument: Two teenagers, Daniel Green and Larry Demery were arrested in connection with Jordan’s murder. Demery made a deal and fingered Green as the triggerman, leading Green to be convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. The documentary argues, with the help of some lawyers and other experts, that Green did not kill Jordan, and even likely had an alibi. 

The film uses a great deal of footage from the interrogation and the original trial, showing footage of Green, then 18, dancing in a video with some of the items stolen from James Jordan’s car. All of the evidence makes it pretty clear that Green, while certainly an accessory to the robbery, should not have been convicted of murder. 

There’s much more presented, including most of an episode dealing with the extensive history of police corruption, racism, and other terrible events that had taken place in Robeson County, North Carolina, where the murder took place. 

 But no, the documentary does not entertain any of the silly conspiracy theories that the older Jordan was killed as some type of retaliation for his son’s gambling debts. 

Michael Jordan did not participate in the documentary; if he had, you can be sure it would be getting a more high-profile release. Most of the talking heads are lawyers, experts, law enforcement, and media figures who were involved with the James Jordan case, although there are a few familiar faces from The Last Dance, including the longtime Chicago sportswriter Sam Smith.  

Moment of Truth doesn’t reinvent the wheel much in terms of style and form of true crime documentaries in the streaming era, using a score not too different from the usual, and presenting the material much the same way. It might have made more sense as a singular feature, especially considering how short the early episodes are.

But the documentary is skillfully put together, providing the fascinating and often infuriating backstory of something previous Jordan documentaries have treated as a footnote. 

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist and film critic based in the Philadelphia area. He is the co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle and a Rotten Tomatoes-listed critic since 2008, and his work has appeared in New York Press, Philly Voice, The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Tablet, The Times of Israel, and RogerEbert.com. In 2009, he became the first American journalist to interview both a sitting FCC chairman and a sitting host of "Jeopardy" on the same day.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tilt Magazine Logo
Pop culture from all angles...

Trending

Crazy Samurai Musashi Review Crazy Samurai Musashi Review

Fantasia 2020: Tak Sakaguchi Takes on an Army in Crazy Samurai Musashi

Film

Goodfellas Anniversary Review Goodfellas Anniversary Review

30 Years Later: Goodfellas Captured Lightning in a Bottle

Film

The Mary Tyler Moore Show The Mary Tyler Moore Show

The Mary Tyler Moore Show at 50

TV

100 Greatest Horror Movie Scenes 100 Greatest Horror Movie Scenes

Greatest Horror Movie Scenes

Film

Horror Movie Scenes Horror Movie Scenes

Greatest Horror Movie Scenes

Film

Jeremiah Johnson Western Review Jeremiah Johnson Western Review

Jeremiah Johnson is the Most Beautiful Western

Film

Beverly Hills, 90210 Beverly Hills, 90210

Beverly Hills, 90210 at 30: The 25 Best Scenes

TV

Fantasia 2020: Tiny Tim: King For a Day is a Moving Look at an American Curiosity

Film

The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw

The Real ‘Curse of Audrey Earnshaw’ is Wasted Potential

Film

The Legend of Baron To’a The Legend of Baron To’a

Fantasia 2020: The Legend of Baron To’a Exemplifies New Zealand Cinema

Film

Cosmic Candy Cosmic Candy

Fantasia 2020: Cosmic Candy Hides Reality Behind a Quirky Exterior

Film

Great Horror Movie Scenes Great Horror Movie Scenes

Greatest Horror Movie Scenes

Film

Connect