Scottie Pippen downplays ‘Last Dance’ rift with Michael Jordan
Scottie Pippen says he’s talked with Michael Jordan since “The Last Dance” documentary aired in the spring and downplayed any rift between the retired Chicago Bulls stars.
“Why would I be offended by anything that happened 30 years ago” Pippen said.
Jordan widely praised Pippen in the documentary that chronicled the Bulls’ dynasty in the 1990s as the best teammate he ever had - both players were elected to the Hall of Fame. But Jordan called out Pippen in the second episode for making a “selfish” decision to delay offseason surgery on a ruptured tendon in his ankle until after the start of the 1997-98 season. Jordan said in the documentary he didn’t understand Pippen’s decision.
There were reports that Pippen was unhappy with his portrayal in the documentary, but he said Tuesday, “I wasn’t upset about it.” The documentary also included Pippen’s refusal to enter Game 3 of the 1994 Eastern Conference semifinals in the final seconds.
“It didn’t bother me at all,” Pippen said. “It was an opportunity for our younger generation that hadn’t seen or knew anything about basketball in the ‘90s.”
The series aired over five consecutive Sunday nights in April and May and included never-before-seen footage from the 1997-98 season, one where the team chased its sixth championship in a span of eight years.
The 54-year-old Pippen won six NBA championships with the Bulls, was a seven-time All-Star and won two Olympic gold medals. He’s now an NBA analyst, primarily for the ESPN studio show, “The Jump.”
He picked the Los Angeles Lakers as the favorite to emerge out of Florida the NBA champion.
“If you wanted to pick one, I’d say whichever team LeBron James is on.,” Pippen said. “The fact that his experience, his ability to pull a team together, the ability to be dominant. He’s the most dominant player in the game right now with Kevin Durant not being in the game. “
The documentary was a ratings winner when sports was on hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic. ESPN and Nielsen said that the final two episodes of ‘The Last Dance” averaged 5.6 million viewers.