Scottie Pippen ‘Beyond Livid’ At Michael Jordan & His Portrayal In ‘The Last Dance’
Scottie Pippen was arguably the most important piece behind Michael Jordan during the Chicago Bulls’ six championship victories. In ESPN’s The Last Dance, Pippen was talked about a fair amount and rightfully so, but when asked about his portrayal in the docu-series, Pippen said he was not pleased with how he was depicted in such a negative light.
One episode in the 10-part documentary looked into Pippen’s contract dispute with the Bulls general manager Jerry Krause and how Pippen elected to hold off on getting foot surgery as a means to get the Bulls to pay the disgruntled star. This led in Pippen not playing a game for the Bulls during the 1997-1998 season until January. To be fair, Pippen was egregiously underpaid for what he did for the Bulls and one can blame both Krause and Bulls’ owner Jerry Reinsdorf for opting to not pay their star, but you can also blame Pippen for taking such a bad contract in the early 90s. For this dispute, Jordan called Pippen selfish for putting himself ahead of the team. At another point in the series, it talked about how Pippen refused to play in the final seconds in a playoff game against the Knicks in 1994 because the play to win the game was drawn up for Toni Kukoč instead of Pippen. This was the first season without Jordan for the Bulls and, although they won the game, it created a rift among the team and had many questioning if Pippen would have done that if Jordan was around.
According to David Kaplan, who is a popular sports radio personality in Chicago, Pippen is “so angry” and “beyond livid” at Jordan for how he was painted in the series.
During a recent roundtable with former Bulls’ teammates, Horace Grant, Craig Hodges and Bill Cartwright, Hodges spoke about how Pippen was not at all a selfish player, despite how he was depicted during the documentary. “I didn’t like how he was portrayed and I don’t understand the reasoning behind it and I’m still trying to figure that out,” Hodges said. “Without Scottie, MJ would not have won. It’s like all the brothers sitting here. It’s almost like MJ won in a vacuum and it wasn’t anything like that.”
Grant echoed that same sentiment. “It was straight-up bulls–t how they portrayed Scottie,” he said. “First off, being the No. 2 on that team and how he came out in terms of against Utah could barely walk, setting screens, getting knocked on the floor, the whole nine yards, and for them, that documentary, to call him… well, MJ called him selfish, that’s some BS. That’s straight up BS. If it wasn’t for Scottie Pippen, there would be no six championships. I’m telling you right now guys. The first championship I think MJ got in foul trouble against the Lakers and who came to the rescue? No. 33. Scottie Pippen. Scottie Pippen. Yes, he made a mistake. We addressed that after the game. And then it was over with and we took the Knicks to seven games. My question is: How in the hell did that get on this documentary when MJ’s ass wasn’t even on the team?”
Grant was also not happy with Jordan for how he was portrayed in the documentary. The series suggested that Grant was the member of the Bulls team who gave details for Sam Smith‘s book, The Jordan Rules.
For his career with the Bulls, Pippen averaged 17.7 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game, 5.3 assists per game, and 2.1 steals per game and was a 7-time all start in 12 seasons.