ESPN’s The Last Dance captured the attention of sports fans and general audiences alike when it aired last spring. The acclaimed docuseries took a deep dive into the final championship run of the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls during the 1997-1998 NBA season. And in the process, it painted a picture of the dynamic between the storied basketball team’s key players. Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen was among those who appeared in the doc, yet his depiction has been one of the show’s most controversial elements. Now, it appears the former small forward has not spoken to Jordan since the show finished its run.
The Last Dance put emphasis on the fact that Scottie Pippen opted not to have surgery ahead of the ‘97-’98 season, a choice that effectively pushed his availability well into the regular season. With this, many fans and pundits believed Pippen was made to look selfish. Even former teammate Steve Kerr expressed dissatisfaction with how Pippen was depicted. Still, after reports alleged Pippen was “livid” about the doc, he claimed to not have any problem with it.
However, Scottie Pippen would later reveal that he did in fact take some issue with it, claiming that Michael Jordan merely used the documentary to “uplift himself.” Pippen recently explained on The Dan Patrick Show that he spoke with Jordan briefly while the show was airing, which is likely when he reached to express his displeasure. The former athlete then explained why he has no interest in speaking with his former teammate at the moment:
No. I mean, I think we both moved on in our life. There’s nothing to be holding onto that went on 20-plus years ago. There’s nothing for us to talk about. I mean, we could talk about our lives and our families and our golf games or something but we ain’t gotta go back and clarify nothing that happened in the ’90s.
All in all, Scottie Pippen doesn’t seem to mind maintaining a cordial personal relationship with Michael Jordan, in the long run. However, it sounds like he does not want to discuss anything relating to their time playing for the Bulls. In short, Pippen simply wants that history to remain, well… history.
The “history” brought up in The Last Dance elicited responses from a number of players. Steve Kerr, while not particularly enthused by the way Pippen was portrayed, mostly enjoyed the documentary and humorously noted his scruffy look during the interview portions. But former Bulls player Horace Grant was less than thrilled and did not take kindly to Michael Jordan accusing him of leaking locker room secrets, leading to the publication of Sam Smith’s The Jordan Rules.
The Last Dance exemplifies just how deep the world of sports can be and how certain moments in time can either delight or eat at those who were involved. It’s for these reasons and more that the docuseries will likely continue to be a somewhat controversial piece of work for years to come.
If you’ve yet to check it out, you can currently stream The Last Dance on Netflix.