Turns Out Scottie Pippen Feels "Wounded and Disappointed" By The Last Dance
Michael Jordan warned fans that they probably wouldn’t like him after watching The Last Dance, the hugely popular 10-part documentary that has dominated Netflix over the last month. But the reality is that Jordan fever has only reached a new peak, with fans captivated by the superstar athlete’s prowess and dedication on the court, and the personal story that accompanied his rise to fame.
Sure, Jordan was considered a tyrant by fellow players. But the man was competitive and sought perfection from all he worked with, what else would expect from someone deemed the Greatest Of All Time? Naturally though, documentaries are the product of a production team, with no input from those it interviews about how it’s brought to light. That a character can be portrayed in a negative light is often inevitable and for Jordan’s teammate Scottie Pippen, his portrayal has left him feeling disappointed.
Pippen has had a pivotal role in the documentary, often referred to as Jordan’s “sidekick” due to his high-standing in the Chicago Bulls, particularly during the 1997-1998 championship season.
In Jordan’s shadow, Pippen was considered the second best player on the team, having a huge role in leading the team to six championships. And while his basketball skills are certainly highlighted, the documentary also focuses on other aspects to Pippen’s game: his incredibly low salary; choosing not to have surgery on his injured ankle during the summer before the 1997-1998 season which then led to him missing the start of the season; and his refusal to re-enter the 1994 semi-finals game in the final seconds after coach Phil Jackson drew up a play featuring rookie Toni Kukoc instead of Pippen.
In regards to the latter, Pippen explained his decision in the documentary: “I felt like it was an insult coming from Phil. I was the most dangerous guy on our team, so why are you asking me to take the ball out?”
In choosing to remain on the bench, Pippen let the team down, a move that even Michael Jordan said would haunt Pippen to this day. Pippen, in contrast, said he has no regrets and probably would do the same if given the opportunity to relive the past. But after the episode went to air, ESPN reporter Jackie MacMullan has since revealed that Pippen has been “wounded and disappointed” by his Last Dance portrayal.
Speaking to ESPN in the article, Dennis Rodman, a teammate of Pippen’s in the latter three championship seasons, defended the player. “I wish [Pippen] didn’t give a sh#t like me about what people say.”
Rodman added, “Scottie was so underrated – and so underpaid. He should be holding his head up higher than Michael Jordan in this documentary. I think a lot of people are now realising what he went through. The kid was a hero, in a lot of ways, during those great Bulls runs.”
As for how Pippen fares in the final two episodes of The Last Dance, we’ll have to wait and see. But with the episodes being released today on Netflix, thankfully it won’t be too long a wait.