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Scottie Pippen Shared More Thoughts On Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance, And He Didn’t Mince Words

Scottie Pippen on The Last Dance
(Image credit: ESPN)

The Last Dance made a significant impression when it first hit the airwaves back in the spring of 2020. ESPN’s 10-part docuseries gave viewers an in-depth look at the inner workings of the ‘90s-era Chicago Bulls and what went into their final championship run. The show put heavy emphasis on the career and personal life of team captain Michael Jordan, a creative decision that has drawn mixed reactions from the public. Some of the creative choices received particularly mixed thoughts from Jordan’s fellow Bulls, including Scottie Pippen. The former athlete previously commented on the series but, now, he’s sharing some brutally honest thoughts. 

After the show finished its original run, reports indicated that Scottie Pippen was “livid” about the final product. He initially shot down the claims but later admitted that he “wasn’t too pleased” with how things panned out. At the time, he stated his belief that the project was merely a way for Michael Jordan to “uplift himself.” In that same interview, Pippen also revealed that he discussed his feelings with Jordan, and they reportedly haven’t spoken since

The hall of famer recently recounted how his colleague reached out to him, along with a number of other sentiments, in his upcoming memoir, Unguarded. In an excerpt from the book (via GQ), the legendary small forward recalled getting a text from His Airness, which rea,d “I’m getting word that you’re upset with me. Love to talk about it if you have time.” While Scottie Pippen was unable to speak at the moment (due to a busy schedule), he agreed to talk the following day. But in the book, he went on to confirm that his former teammate’s suspicions were indeed correct:

Michael was right. I was upset with him. It was because of The Last Dance, the ten-part ESPN documentary about the Chicago Bulls’ final championship season (1997–98), which millions of people watched during the early weeks of the pandemic.

The documentary ultimately ended with a recap of the Chicago Bulls’ victory over the Utah Jazz in the 1998 NBA Finals. But what turned out to be an exciting conclusion for many viewers was seemingly less than enjoyable for Scottie Pippen. He went on to give his thoughts on why things didn’t pan out the way he’d hoped: 

The final two episodes aired on May 17. Similar to the previous eight, they glorified Michael Jordan while not giving nearly enough praise to me and my proud teammates. Michael deserved a large portion of the blame. The producers had granted him editorial control of the final product. The doc couldn’t have been released otherwise. He was the leading man and the director.

Additionally, he said that through the doc, 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.” The NBA veteran further revealed that he was sent the first eight episodes of The Last Dance weeks in advance and “couldn’t believe” what he was watching. He seemed particularly disillusioned with the emphasis placed on Jordan’s personal life and stated his belief that the show only put his former teammate “on a pedestal.” He later discussed what he did in the aftermath of the show’s airing:

Over the next few weeks, I spoke to a number of my former teammates who each felt as disrespected as I did. How dare Michael treat us that way after everything we did for him and his precious brand. Michael Jordan would never have been Michael Jordan without me, Horace Grant, Toni Kukoc, John Paxson, Steve Kerr, Dennis Rodman, Bill Cartwright, Ron Harper, B. J. Armstrong, Luc Longley, Will Perdue, and Bill Wennington. I apologize to anyone I’ve left out.

Some of the aforementioned players also took issue with how The Last Dance played out. Horace Grant called out the Jordan Brand founder for accusing him of leaking locker room secrets to the press. Meanwhile, Steve Kerr, who was mostly positive on the show as a whole, didn’t care for the way Scottie Pippen was portrayed.

Given how much is said in the book, one would assume this will be the last we hear about the doc from the man who formerly wore the number 33 across his chest. Yet there’s always a chance he (or any of his teammates) will give even more thoughts at some point in the future.

Unguarded hits bookshelves on November 9 and, if you’re looking to view The Last Dance yourself, you can stream it on either Netflix or ESPN+.

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.