Outside of perhaps Tiger King, no other documentary series captured our attention this year like The Last Dance. ESPN’s 10-part miniseries about Michael Jordan the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s let us relive one of basketball’s golden eras and offered us a closer look at the mythical figure at its center.
And the closer we looked, the more complicated it all became. Jordan’s reputation as a tyrant among his teammates was confirmed, and it also provided another opportunity to engage in one of his favorite pastimes — settling old scores, with both friends and enemies alike.
Scottie Pippen was just one of many teammates who wasn’t happy about his portrayal in the docu-series, and he’s made no secret about since the show aired earlier this year. Pippen didn’t appreciate the way it emphasized a couple of his less flattering moments during their time together in Chicago, and he apparently didn’t hesitate to tell Jordan about it directly.
“I thought it was more about Michael trying to uplift himself and to be glorified [the series was co-produced by Jordan’s Jump 23 company]. I think it also backfired to some degree in that people got a chance to see what kind of personality Michael had.”
“Yeah. I told him I wasn’t too pleased with it. He accepted it. He said, ‘hey, you’re right.’ That was pretty much it.
The interesting part — if his interpretation of their exchange is accurate — is that Jordan appears to accept Pippen’s criticism. In the past, His Airness has been notoriously prickly anytime his peers deigned to utter anything negative about him, something that led to his falling out with Charles Barkley. But then again, Pippen has always carried much more cache than anyone else in his inner sphere.
If we learned anything from The Last Dance, it’s that these guys have long memories, and it seems that as long as we keep asking about it, they’ll be happy to accommodate us.