Scottie Pippen, who won six NBA championships with Michael Jordan, is reportedly ‘beyond livid’ with his former Chicago Bulls team-mate over his portrayal in The Last Dance, according to a Chicago-based radio host.
Watch The Last Dance, a 10-part documentary on the 1997-98 Bulls,
Hall of Famer Pippen, recognised as Jordan’s most important team-mate during the 1990s Bulls dynasty that reaped six NBA championships in eight years, is “so angry at Michael and how he was portrayed, called selfish, called this, called that, that he is furious that he participated and did not realise what he was getting himself into,” ESPN 1000 Radio’s David Kaplan said on the Kap and Co show.
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The Last Dance, a 10-part series available to watch on Netflix via Sky Q, tells the story of the Bulls’ dynasty through the lens of their final championship run during the 1997-98 season. Jordan maintained editorial control over the documentary and his long-time business managers Curtis Polk and Estee Portnoy are credited as executive producers of all 10 episodes.
In the second episode of the series, Jordan – in a present-day interview – described Pippen’s decision to have foot surgery at the start of the 1997-98 season as “selfish”.
Episode four retold the story of Pippen suffering a migraine ahead of the Bulls’ clash with the Detroit Pistons in Game 7 of the 1990 Eastern Conference Finals.
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Pippen’s refusal to leave the bench in Game 3 of the 1994 Bulls-Knicks playoff series when told team-mate Toni Kukoc, not he, would take the game’s final shot was covered extensively in episode seven. At that time, Jordan had retired from the Bulls and was playing minor league baseball for the Birmingham Barons.
The final episode of The Last Dance detailed how Pippen battled through a severe back injury to contribute to the Bulls’ victory in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz, a win that sealed Chicago’s sixth title.
“[Pippen] felt like up until the last few minutes of Game 6 against the Jazz [in the 1998 NBA finals, during the series’ last episode], it was just ‘bash Scottie, bash Scottie, bash Scottie’,” Kaplan said.
Pippen’s reported displeasure follows criticism of The Last Dance from Horace Grant, the starting power forward on the Bulls’ 1991, 1992 and 1993 championship teams.
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Grant was named by Jordan in The Last Dance as the source of Sam Smith’s book The Jordan Rules, that painted Jordan in an unflattering light.
Grant called Jordan’s accusation “lies, lies, lies”, telling ESPN 1000 Radio: “If MJ had a grudge with me, let’s settle this like men. Let’s talk about it. Or we can settle it another way. But yet and still, he goes out and puts that I was the source behind [the book].
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“The mere fact that Sam Smith was an investigative reporter, that he had to have two sources, two, to write a book, I guess. Why would MJ just point me out?
“It’s only a grudge, man. And I think [Jordan] proved that during this so-called documentary. When if you say something about him, he is going to cut you off, he is going to try to destroy your character.”