Scottie Pippen is making the rounds these days. He’s making the rounds because of his upcoming book, “Unguarded.” Nobody can fault a person for doing interviews to circulate publicity for their book.
What is curious, however, is his determination to trounce on his former teammate, Michael Jordan.
Pippen’s IndignationIn 2020, the documentary titled, “The Last Dance” was released and captivated NBA fans during a time where the pandemic shut down all major sports. Pippen did not appreciate how he was portrayed. In a piece published in GQ with an excerpt from the book, Pippen had this to say about the documentary.
“Except Michael was determined to prove to the current generation of fans that he was larger-than-life during his day—and still larger than LeBron James, the player many consider his equal, if not superior. So Michael presented his story, not the story of the “Last Dance,” as our coach, Phil Jackson, billed the 1997–98 season once it became obvious the two Jerrys (owner Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Jerry Krause) were intent on breaking up the gang no matter what happened.”
Those words are scathing. The rest of the excerpt is even more scathing, somehow. Pippen also takes to task former teammate John Paxson. What sticks out about his interaction with Paxson (according to Pippen’s story) is that Paxson issued a heartfelt apology that included Paxson bursting into tears. Pippen didn’t care.
Now perhaps Pippen has a point. Maybe “The Last Dance” documentary focuses too much on Jordan and his brand and his legacy. The fact that Pippen says he has poor relationships with multiple ex-teammates in the same excerpt is rather telling though, as well. When you isolate the people around you, it’s not always everyone else’s fault. Besides–we’re talking about Michael Jordan.
“He relied on the success we attained as a team—six titles in eight years—to propel him to a level of fame throughout the world no other athlete, except for Muhammad Ali, has reached in modern times.”
Pippen’s point gets murky when you consider that Michael Jordan was considered the greatest player in the NBA before Pippen even set foot on an NBA court. The ’90s Chicago Bulls don’t win a championship without the roster and tools that the organization set around Jordan, that is true, but Jordan’s greatness and iconic reputation were well cemented before Pippen, Horace Grant, and Phil Jackson arrived.