Charles Barkley Claps Back After Scottie Pippen Takes Shots At Michael Jordan

Scottie Pippen has never been one to mince words, but the legendary basketball player has been particularly vocal over the past few weeks. The hall of famer recently marked the release of his memoir, Unguarded, in which he aired some brutally honest thoughts about former teammate Michael Jordan. Pippen has taken shots at Jordan for a number of reasons, from his style of play to his handling of The Last Dance docuseries. Fans and NBA veterans have since shared their own personal thoughts on the validity of his comments. And now, Charles Barkley has clapped back at Pippen with an honest take on the matter. 

In his book, Scottie Pippen discussed his displeasure with ESPN’s 2020 documentary program on the Bulls’ final championship run. He asserted that the show only “glorified” Michael Jordan and that this was the result of his production company having editorial control. He also thinks the project was ultimately Jordan’s attempt to prove that “he was larger-than-life during his day—and still larger than LeBron James.” Pippen even went on to claim that the five-time NBA MVP “ruined basketball” and that James is the true GOAT, as he “does everything and embodies what the game is truly about.”

These are certainly pointed statements, but Charles Barkley seems to think there’s more bark to the statements than there is actual bite. During a recent appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, the former NBA rebounding champ acknowledged that his fellow Dream Teamer is entitled to his thoughts and experiences. But he also believes the Chicago Bulls legend is only talking things up in order to help his book sales:

I feel bad, because it seems like he’s just trying to go big-game hunting because he’s selling a book. I’m never going to tell another person what to say, we got to all have our own opinions. But this seems like he’s got a book coming out… When you write a book, in my opinion, it should be your personal thoughts about everything about you. [It’s about] you letting the world know what you think. It just seems like, to me, when you go after Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan [and] he came after me a little bit, you’re just going big-game hunting because you know it’s going to get some clicks. And I’ve always liked Scottie, I thought he was a very good player. But like I say, it just seems like, ‘I just got to go big-game hunting because if I talk bad about big-time people, it’s going to get clicks, and I’m going to sell some books.’

The hall of famer also addressed Scottie Pippen’s blunt thoughts on The Last Dance and stated his belief that Michael Jordan didn’t intend to “roast” Pippen with the 10-part show. The Inside the NBA analyst believes the thoughts Jordan shared on Pippen over the course of the series were true and likened the situation to whenever someone brings up his own past antics. As the former all-star puts it, he “can’t get mad” simply because someone brought up “stupid things” that he’s done. In addition to all of this, the sportscaster also takes issue with the way in which Pippen aired his views:

If you want to say these things, just say them, don’t put them in a book. That’s the only problem I’ve had with a lot of these things. If [Scottie] wants to come on [The] Dan Patrick Show and say some things, I got no problem with that, if he wants to say his opinions. But when you bring all this stuff up, and you just happen to have a book coming out, that’s what I think is what the problem everyone is having now.

This isn’t the first time Charles Barkley has aimed some honest sentiments at the Chicago Bulls icon. When Scottie Pippen questioned his toughness as a player, Barkley fired back, saying that he was “damn sure tougher” than Pippen and that he’s “no fake tough guy.” Those who watch him on television know that Barkley does not hold back, and these comments certainly line up with his personality. 

When it comes to this recent debate revolving around the memoir, Sir Charles isn’t the only basketball vet, or Inside the NBA alum for that matter, to chime in. Kenny “The Jet” Smith recently spoke to the comments on The Last Dance and like his colleague, believes what the docuseries showed was true. Smith also stated his belief that the two Bulls teammates are still in contact. 

Whether or not that’s true is unclear, as Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan apparently haven’t spoken since Pippen reached out to discuss his dissatisfaction with the show. There’s no telling if the two will eventually patch things up but, regardless, it’s likely that other veteran players like Charles Barkley will join in the conversation surrounding them, if asked.. And if you’ve yet to see The Last Dance for yourself, you can stream it 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.