Bulls Legend Scottie Pippen Felt Insulted by The Last Dance

Michael Jordan 'couldn’t have been more condescending if he tried'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2021 12:18 PM CDT
Pippen Slams Jordan Over The Last Dance
In this March 13, 2015 photo, former NBA player Scottie Pippen watches an NCAA college basketball game in Nashville, Tenn.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

NBA legend Scottie Pippen has the same problem with The Last Dance that Ken Burns did: The 10-part ESPN documentary series on the Chicago Bulls' 1997-98 championship was made in partnership with Michael Jordan's production company, which made Jordan "both leading man and director," Pippen writes in excerpts from upcoming memoir Unguarded published in GQ. The series "glorified Michael Jordan while not giving nearly enough praise to me and my proud teammates," Pippen writes. "Michael deserved a large portion of the blame. The producers had granted him editorial control of the final product."

Pippen writes that even in the second episode, which looked at his upbringing and his path to the NBA, the narrative soon "returned to MJ and his determination to win." "I was nothing more than a prop," Pippen writes. "His 'best teammate of all time,' he called me. He couldn’t have been more condescending if he tried." Pippen says that after the miniseries aired last year, he spoke to "a number of my former teammates who each felt as disrespected as I did. ... To make things worse, Michael received $10 million for his role in the doc while my teammates and I didn’t earn a dime," he writes, calling the arrangement "another reminder of the pecking order from the old days."

Being a Bulls member in the 1990s was to be "part of something magical"—but Jordan told his own story, not that of the team, because he was "determined to prove to the current generation of fans that he was larger-than-life during his day—and still larger than LeBron James, the player many consider his equal, if not superior," Pippen writes. Michael Kaskey-Blomain at CBS Sports notes that while Jordan and Pippen "may have been ideal complements to each other on the court, it's clear that there are some deep-rooted off-the-court issues between the two that stem back to their playing days." (Read the full excerpt here.)

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