ESPN’s The Last Dance may have debuted over a year ago, but the widely watched basketball docuseries is still having some serious ripple effects. While sports fans have continued to debate its merits, the real story centers on the reactions of those who were featured in it. Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen has been incredibly vocal about his disdain for the show and has since called out former teammate Michael Jordan for his role in the production. The situation has drawn a lot of eyes as of late and, now, fellow NBA vet Kenny Smith has chimed in on the matter.
This all originally started shortly after the series originally finished its run in May 2020. It was initially reported that Scottie Pippen was “livid” after seeing the show, though he later shot down those initial claims. However, Pippen eventually confirmed that he actually “wasn’t too pleased” with how things panned out. He also revealed that he’d shared his thoughts with his old teammate and, apparently, the two haven’t spoken to each other since. In his new memoir, Unguarded, Pippen goes in even deeper and accuses the Jordan Brand founder of using the doc to make himself look good.
Kenny “The Jet” Smith, who played against those exceptional Bulls teams during the ‘90s, understands the two hall of famers’ skill sets better than most. With this, TMZ recently asked for his thoughts on the seemingly one-side war of the words that’s been taking place. Smith, who most now know as an on-air analyst, offered some honest thoughts:
In his book, Scottie Pippen said that The Last Dance, particularly the final two episodes, “glorified” Michael Jordan without giving any credit to his teammates. According to Pippen, Jordan deserved “a large portion of the blame” due to the fact that the series was made under his Jump 23 production banner. With this, he further asserted that the businessman was given a considerable amount of creative control. He finally concluded that through the doc, Jordan wanted to “prove to the current generation of fans that he was larger-than-life during his day—and still larger than LeBron James.”
Kenny Smith was also asked about those LeBron comparisons and stated his belief that His Airness “doesn’t need to tell this generation who he is because we know who he is.” He then punctuated his point by taking off and showing off one of the Jordan Brand shoes he was actually wearing while speaking with TMZ.
Other players’ reactions to the Emmy-winning limited series have been somewhat mixed. Former Chicago Bull Horace Grant was upset by the “so-call documentary” and called out Michael Jordan for accusing him of leaking locker room secrets to the press. Charles Oakley, on the other hand, was a bit more positive, saying that it “was a little accurate and a little pledging.” Oakley also believes the series didn’t throw any players under the bus.
With the momentum this debate has, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if other players decide to share thoughts. While you wait for any other potential reactions though, you can pass some time by streaming The Last Dance on Netflix or ESPN+.
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