Sports

Scottie Pippen still hates Michael Jordan over ‘The Last Dance’

Scottie Pippen has never been shy about letting the world know when he’s upset. Pippen’s Hall of Fame career with the Chicago Bulls was defined by his grudges throughout the organization as much as the six championships he helped them win.

Pippen famously had beef with Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Jerry Krause after signing a long-term contract in 1991 that quickly made him significantly underpaid as NBA salaries boomed. During Michael Jordan’s first retirement, Pippen sat out the final possession of a playoff game against the New York Knicks because head coach Phil Jackson drew up the final play for teammate Toni Kukoc instead him (Kukoc hit the game-winner). Pippen once delayed surgery until the start of his final season in Chicago because he didn’t want the recovery to ‘f*** my summer up.’

Pippen is one of the most accomplished basketball players in NBA history, but that hasn’t helped him find peace in his retirement. Instead, when interest in the Bulls’ ‘90s dynasty was revived with the release of “The Last Dance,” Pippen again went on the offensive.

Scottie’s latest target is none other than Michael Jordan.

Pippen’s beef is centered on the “The Last Dance,” the 10-part ESPN produced documentary that captivated the country in 2020 during the pandemic. While the documentary was billed as an intimate look at the final season of the Bulls’ dynasty, the final product focused mostly on Jordan’s rise into the greatest player in league history. Pippen isn’t happy about it.

In a new tell-all book titled “Unguarded,” Pippen slams Jordan as ‘condescending’ and says he’s never been close with his former teammate. GQ published an excerpt of the book that gets to the heart of Pippen’s discontent:

Even in the second episode, which focused for a while on my difficult upbringing and unlikely path to the NBA, the narrative returned to MJ and his determination to win. I was nothing more than a prop. His “best teammate of all time,” he called me. He couldn’t have been more condescending if he tried.

On second thought, I could believe my eyes. I spent a lot of time around the man. I knew what made him tick. How naïve I was to expect anything else.

Each episode was the same: Michael on a pedestal, his teammates secondary, smaller, the message no different from when he referred to us back then as his “supporting cast.” From one season to the next, we received little or no credit whenever we won but the bulk of the criticism when we lost. Michael could shoot 6 for 24 from the field, commit 5 turnovers, and he was still, in the minds of the adoring press and public, the Errorless Jordan.

Pippen said Jordan was paid $10 million for his role in the doc, while no one else from the Bulls’ dynasty earned a dime. Like all of Pippen’s gripes, this one is again about both money and respect.

Pippen believes the way ‘The Last Dance’ portrays the Bulls is Jordan’s fault. He writes in his new book: “Michael deserved a large portion of the blame. The producers had granted him editorial control of the final product. The doc couldn’t have been released otherwise. He was the leading man and the director.”

To Pippen’s point: “The Last Dance” could have been a lot better. The documentary felt like it was solely focused on building Jordan’s legend rather than giving viewers a more honest look at the pitfalls of his greatness. The documentary was always going to be compromised once Jordan got creative control.

With that said, the doc was still a sensation for good reason. The ‘90s Bulls had so many colorful personalities and personal strifes as Jordan was leading them to championships. Pippen had his chance to lead the Bulls during Jordan’s first retirement, but Chicago came up just short in the playoffs (thanks, Hue Hollins). It’s clear there’s a lot of resentment throughout the entire team despite their shared success.

Even if Pippen raises some good points, he still comes off looking bad in his media tour to air out his grievances. He refuses to let go of his grudges and seems hellbent on letting the world know that Jordan is a jerk. Of course, anyone who has followed Jordan’s career already knows that. Pippen is just incredibly bitter about how his role in the Bulls’ dynasty is perceived.

Let the record show: Pippen was an absolute force in his prime. He may be the greatest defensive forward ever. He played a valuable role on the 1992 Dream Team. He was named one of the 75 greatest players in league history for good reason. Jordan would not have won six championships without him.

Jordan has sung Pippen’s praises throughout his life, but it’s never enough for Scottie. While Pippen is dedicating his post-playing career to taking down Jordan’s character, he’s revealing a lot about himself in the process, too. Even winners can be miserable, as Scottie Pippen keeps showing us.

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