Scottie Pippen – who resents the documentary’s portrayal of the 1997-98 Bulls – sees a connection.
Pippen in his new memoir, “Unguarded,” via GQ:
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
I was nothing more than a prop. His “best teammate of all time,” he called me. He couldn’t have been more condescending if he tried.
On second thought, I could believe my eyes. I spent a lot of time around the man. I knew what made him tick. How naïve I was to expect anything else.
Pippen is wrong: Jordan absolutely could have been more condescending.
Pippen is right: He was naïve to expect the documentary to be framed differently.
Jordan was larger than life, the greatest and most popular player of all-time. Of course, he was going to be the focus of the documentary.
That was even more true because he was involved in production. Jordan had creative control to put himself in the spotlight and, with his big ego, wasn’t passing on the opportunity. Jordan also spoke bluntly throughout, making himself a more-intriguing character in the series.
The cat is out of the bag now, though.
Really, Pippen’s resentment has been building for many years. He felt disrespected by his contract while playing for Chicago. He remains defensive about the treatment he received while Jordan was retired/playing baseball. Pippen also felt underappreciated while working for the Bulls after retiring himself, as he elaborated on in the GQ excerpt.
“The Last Dance” was just a cherry on top.