After Scottie Pippen Takes Shots At Michael Jordan, Another Bulls Teammate Has A Take On What’s Really Going On

Scottie Pippen’s candid comments have really taken the sports world by storm over the past month or so. Through his recently released memoir and an assortment of interviews, the former player has discussed his time with the Chicago Bulls in great detail. He’s also taken a few shots at his on-court partner in crime, Michael Jordan, in the process. The statements have garnered a lot of attention, some of which has come from former players. Now, fellow Bulls alum Charles Oakley is sharing his take on Pippen’s recent assertions. 

From the outside looking in, a lot of Scottie Pippen’s displeasure with his old teammate stems from the 2020 docuseries The Last Dance. Though he initially claimed to have no problem with it, he later jotted down his true feelings in his book, Unguarded. It was there that Pippen accused the Jordan Brand founder of using his creative control over the show to mold it in a way that glorified himself. Pippen also went as far as to say that Michael Jordan sought to “prove to the current generation of fans that he was larger-than-life during his day—and still larger than LeBron James.” Among other things, he’s also accused Jordan of ruining basketball by ushering in an era of basketball that doesn’t rely on team-oriented play. 

Although The Last Dance definitely seems to be a sticking point for the hall of famer, Charles Oakley thinks there could be more to it. Oakley, who has shared thoughts on the docuseries before, recently engaged in an in-depth discussion with Betway Insider about all things basketball, during which his old teammates came up. He acknowledged that the Unguarded author was hurt by the series but also stated his belief that the issues could stem from something more specific from their playing days: 

Scottie felt like he was mistreated, and he didn't look good. Scottie did some things that we talked about. I’m friends with Scottie and Mike, but I don't talk about Mike to Scottie, or Scottie to Mike. … I know everybody thinks it’s some feud from The Last Dance, I think it's something else that happened. We don't know, but one day we will find out. I don't think Scottie would just turn from all this from The Last Dance. Some stuff happened 10, 20 years ago but now he’s got a platform to talk about it. But he did say he wants to have his last say about The Last Dance, so who knows what's going on?

Charles Oakley was with the Chicago Bulls from 1985 to 1988, playing with Michael Jordan for three seasons and Scottie Pippen for one. He’s since remained friends with both players and seems to know them pretty well. So there's a chance he could be onto something about the true root of Pippen’s problem but, as he acknowledges, we’ll likely never know for sure. Another thing Oakley does seem confident in, though, is his assumption that Jordan won’t publicly fire back at Pippen:

Mike’s not going to feud in the press about what Scottie has to say, he’s not going to comment on it. Scottie feels like he’s got six rings, Michael’s got six rings. One thing he did say when he first got to the league when he was a rookie, he said he wanted to be better than Mike.

The Bull-turned-Knick further believes that his old colleague “feels like he's better than Mike” and apparently even said that very thing years ago. But when it comes to the present, Charles Oakley feels that the small forward’s sentiments are coming from a place of stress. He illustrated this thought with a situation involving former coach Phil Jackson:

Scottie went through a lot as time passed, stress can put you in a different place. He said something about Phil Jackson. I think he apologised about that. But sometimes you get in the heat of battle, you know, and that's why you’ve got to be careful when you do interviews and talk to people because they dig. They dig holes all the time, they dig up stuff about you and something you said, when this could be 30 years ago. But you said it and then you try to backtrack. I said a lot over my career, but it must be all true because I’ve never had to backtrack about anything I said.

Over the past few weeks, NBA vets like Charles Barkely and Kenny “The Jet” Smith have also commented on Scottie Pippen’s statements. Both have respect for him, but Barkley was a bit more blunt, saying that Pippen has only been “big-game hunting” in order to sell his book. Former Chicago Bull Scott Williams also called Michael Jordan the better teammate, citing how Jordan is more likely to reach out on an occasion as an example. Still, Pippen has received praise, with Toni Kukoc naming him his favorite person to play with

It’s more than clear, at this point, that this discussion is going to linger for quite some time. It’ll honestly be interesting to see who else might share their two cents on the matter. But of course, be sure to form your own opinion when jumping into any debates. And if you’ve yet to do so, you can also stream The Last Dance on Netflix and ESPN+. 

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.