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Scottie Pippen And Michael Jordan’s Former Teammate Offers Grim Thoughts On The Future Of Their Friendship

Charles Oakley on Cold as Balls
(Image credit: LOL Network)

Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan have been retired from professional basketball for well over a decade now yet, for the past few months, the two have been heavily discussed within the world of sports. This was sparked by the blunt thoughts Pippen shared about Jordan in his recently released memoir, Unguarded. The former small forward not only criticized ESPN’s The Last Dance and His Airness’ involvement in it, but he also claimed that his former teammate “ruined” basketball. In the aftermath, numerous former Chicago Bulls players have weighed in on the situation. Now, Charles Oakley (who has chimed in before) has a grim assessment of the future of Jordan and Pippen’s friendship. 

Charles Oakley played three seasons with the Chicago Bulls and, during his last, he played alongside both Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Despite only playing with the duo for a single season, he still competed against them for years and saw their dynamic both on and off the court. Recently, Oakley hasn’t backed down from questions about the two or The Last Dance (which he thought was mostly accurate) and hasn’t minced words. So when he recently appeared on The Bill Simmons Podcast and was asked whether his former teammates would ever speak again, he gave a very honest answer:

No, I think it's over. Yeah, I think it's over. It wasn't great from the get-go.

This actually lines up with past sentiments that Charles Oakley has made in regard to the championship-winning duo. He previously addressed Scottie Pippen’s feelings and seemed to respect his thoughts. However, Oakley surmised that the feud wasn’t actually due to The Last Dance but to something that may have occurred between Pippen and Michael Jordan during their playing days. What that might have been the NBA veteran couldn’t say. Even though he doesn’t think the Emmy-winning docuseries isn’t the root cause of the conflict, he did acknowledge its role in Pippen’s apparent displeasure:

I think he feels like they didn't present him more in The Last Dance. I think they did Dennis Rodman more than Scottie and Steve Kerr. But my thing to that is, Kerr did way more off the court than Scottie. Dennis probably has, too. But on that court, Scottie did a lot more than both of them, but Scottie felt like he was left out of [the docuseries]. And he felt like Jordan wouldn't have six rings if it wasn't for him.

What may actually be the most interesting part of Charles Oakey’s new comments is the part where he claims that the relationship between the two “wasn’t great from the get-go.” Other Chicago Bulls players like Bill Wennington painted a different picture through their own comments. Even hall of famer Dennis Rodman says he “never saw” any kind of clear animosity between his fellow teammates.

At this point, it’s honestly hard to argue that the status of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s relationship isn’t looking good. Some can’t help but be optimistic and hope that they’ll patch things up, though. Inside the NBA’s Kenny Smith, for instance, believes the two will still talk, and many Bulls fans are likely hoping the same thing. Maybe a game of golf (which Pippen once thought he could beat Jordan at) would do the trick. Only time will tell how things pan out with the two sports icons.

Those who’ve yet to see The Last Dance can check it out by streaming it on Netflix and ESPN+.

Erik Swann
Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.