“The Last Dance” offered a unique and never-before-seen perspective inside the Chicago Bulls locker room during the height of their powers in the 1990s. It was a truly stellar experience for the fans and for Michael, it must have felt good to have his career and life in the spotlight like that again.
As for his former Bulls teammates, it’s no secret that they felt betrayed and misrepresented by the documentary. Instead of it being about the team, it was more about Michael and, for Scottie Pippen in particular, he felt as if the program made him look like a selfish punk and he blames Mike for it.
According to Sam Smith, in a chat with Isaac Chotiner of The New Yorker, their relationship has taken a hit.
“I don’t think their relationship is good now. I know Scottie was hurt by his portrayal. He was hurt, I believe, when Michael said he was selfish when he sat out.
“I think he was maybe not upset, maybe hurt. Because I think he valued Michael. I think he was at Michael’s wedding when he got remarried. So they’ve always had an ambivalent relationship, that Scottie would like to be in Michael’s group, because, obviously, being around Michael, the spotlight shines brighter, but Scottie never saw himself as a sycophant. And Michael tends to treat the people around him as, maybe not servants, but helpers.
“And Scotty would resent, at times, Michael’s treatment of him as less than an equal. I think he drifts back and forth in the relationship. And I think, with the documentary, his thing is probably to drift away a little bit. But I could see him coming back again.”
At several points in the documentary, Pippen was portrayed as selfish, including during the lengthy segments in which the doc shows Pippen’s unhappiness about being underpaid throughout his career. There’s also that moment when MJ literally said “I thought Scottie was being selfish” in regards to his decision to have ankle surgery.
Regardless, Pippen was hurt by the way in which he was portrayed in “The Last Dance” and it stems from how he felt playing alongside Jordan for almost his entire basketball career.
Hopefully, the two can repair their relationship and move on from the documentary. But, with all things, it will take time.