Michael Jordan was famously tough with his teammates in his single-minded quest to win as many NBA championships as he could. Through both of the three-peats in Jordan's career, his main co-star was always Scottie Pippen. Pippen's elite defense and playmaking ability allowed him to complement Jordan perfectly in those legendary Chicago Bulls teams.
However, MJ always got more of the glory from media and fans alike for his sheer brilliance and according to Bulls writer Sam Smith, this led to Pippen himself always wanting to be in Jordan's circle. Smith told The Athletic that Scottie's attempts to be seen as an equal were all in vain though, with Michael apparently belittling him even though he knew that Pippen wanted his approval.
“He actually had this curious ambivalence with Jordan. He wanted to be accepted and part of Jordan’s orbit, and I think that stemmed from, as a lot of it does, from where it came from. … He always really hungered for it, but Michael, being the shark he was, he would recognize that. He was so aware of people wanting to do that.
“And then he would belittle Pippen when he was trying to be considered an equal, and then Pippen would go sort of crawling back to Horace Grant and the guys because he wasn’t accepted like he wanted to be.”
Whatever the tension between the two, they did manage to win 6 whole championships together with Jordan giving Pippen a lot of credit in his documentary, The Last Dance. Jordan explained that he would not have been the player he was if it wasn't for Scottie's contributions.
Pippen himself wasn't too pleased with his portrayal and has expressed his dissatisfaction but did go on to say that MJ was the best teammate he had ever played with. Whatever beef comes to light between the two Bulls legends, the fact remains that Jordan and Pippen will always be considered as one of the best duos in the history of basketball.