It’s hard to believe that it’s been over two years since ESPN’s The Last Dance aired and captivated (as well as frustrated) viewers around the country. The docuseries, which centers on the final championship run of the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, became appointment viewing during the early days of the COVID lockdown. Though it’s been a few years since its debut, the public is still seeing the fallout of the Emmy-winning show in the form of backlash from Scottie Pippen and more. Now, it would seem that we have a better idea of Michael Jordan’s feelings on the matter.
Over the past several months, Scottie Pippen has been engaged in a (one-sided) feud with his former teammate, one that’s heavily due to The Last Dance. Via his memoir, Pippen opened up about watching the 10-part series, saying that he was “upset” by it and believed that it merely “glorified” the Jordan Brand founder. Pippen apparently told this to his former colleague and hasn't spoken to him since. Another player who was previously vocal about his displeasure was Horace Grant, who Michael Jordan accused of leaking locker room secrets back in the ‘90s. Grant clapped back, claiming that the hall of famer lied in the “so-called documentary.”
His Airness hasn’t spoken publicly about the responses from his fellow Bulls alums. However, an interview that he did with veteran sports journalist Jackie MacMullan for her Icons Club podcast series may illuminate things. Though the chat didn’t focus squarely on the polarizing ESPN production, MacMullan explained on the Hoop Collective podcast that the former athlete seemed taken aback by the controversy:
If this is indeed the truth, then it’s a bit shocking. Those who are aware of Michael Jordan’s work both on and off the court know that he’s rarely rattled. Still, he is human and like any one of us, is capable of being shaken up or at the very least caught by surprise on something.
The response to the series wasn’t all negative when it comes to former Bulls players, though. Steve Kerr admitted to not being 100% pleased with the way Scottie Pippen was portrayed but did enjoy the show overall. Kerr, now the coach of the Golden State Warriors, also humorously said he found it slightly “embarrassing” that he was featured so heavily. Charles Oakley was a bit mixed on the matter, calling the docuseries “a little accurate” and “a little pledging.”
Michael Jordan typically keeps things close to the vest, so there’s a firm chance he won’t actually say too much about the backlash the project has received. Nevertheless, I’m sure plenty of fans are hoping he’ll speak out on the reactions (especially Scottie Pippen’s brutally honest thoughts).
Those with Netflix subscriptions or an ESPN+ membership can stream The Last Dance and see what all the hubbub is about.
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