Scottie Pippen already made headlines while promoting his upcoming "Unguarded" book, by stirring the pot and breaking his silence after several years of holding his honest thoughts on Michael Jordan and other Chicago Bulls-related topics.
Well, it is GQ that brings us some details about Pippen's upcoming book. He focuses on Jordan again, taking big shots at his former teammate for how he was portrayed compared to the rest of the 90s Chicago Bulls.
Pippen talks about his expectations for the 10-part docu-series The Last Dance and the disappointment after watching the first episodes of the award-winning production. He says that Jordan didn't care much about showing his teammates' importance and instead focused on how bad Jerry Reinsdorf and Jerry Krause were.
I had expected much more. When I was first told about it over a year earlier, I couldn’t wait to tune in, knowing it would feature rare footage.
My years in Chicago, beginning as a rookie in the fall of 1987, were the most rewarding of my career: twelve men coming together as one, fulfilling the dreams we had as kids in playgrounds across the land when all we needed was a ball, a basket, and our imagination. To be a member of the Bulls during the 1990s was to be part of something magical. For our times and for all time.
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 once it became obvious the two Jerrys (owner Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Jerry Krause) were intent on breaking up the gang no matter what happened.
Pippen reveals that he watched eight episodes in advance, and he couldn't believe what he saw. The production was directed to make Jordan look flawless, which didn't sit well with No. 33.
ESPN sent me links to the first eight episodes a couple of weeks in advance. As I watched the doc at home in Southern California with my three teenage boys, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Among the scenes in the first episode:
Michael, a freshman at the University of North Carolina, hitting the game-winning jump shot against the Georgetown Hoyas in the 1982 NCAA title game.
Michael, drafted third by the Bulls in 1984 behind Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston) and Sam Bowie (Portland), talking about his hopes of turning the franchise around.
Michael leading the Bulls to a comeback triumph over the Milwaukee Bucks in just his third game.
Scottie wasn't pleased with any of this. He felt Jordan disrespected him and the rest of his teammates by making himself the lord and savior of those Bulls. He took a big shot at His Airness, saying he "couldn't have been more condescending if he tried."
On and on it went, the spotlight shining on number 23.
Even in the second episode, which focused for a while on my difficult upbringing and unlikely path to the NBA, the narrative returned to MJ and his determination to win. 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.
Each episode was the same: Michael on a pedestal, his teammates secondary, smaller, the message no different from when he referred to us back then as his “supporting cast.” From one season to the next, we received little or no credit whenever we won but the bulk of the criticism when we lost. Michael could shoot 6 for 24 from the field, commit 5 turnovers, and he was still, in the minds of the adoring press and public, the Errorless Jordan.
Now here I was, in my midfifties, seventeen years since my final game, watching us being demeaned once again. Living through it the first time was insulting enough.
Obviously, Pippen had a lot to say about this. He had expressed his frustration because he felt like the villain of the story at times. Scottie said that MJ texted him after hearing about it, and the sidekick admitted he was mad.
May 19, 2020, 6:31 p.m.
The text was from Michael. He didn’t reach out very often.
What’s up dude? I’m getting word that you’re upset with me. Love to talk about it if you have time.
My schedule was packed that evening and I knew the conversation would take a while.
I hit him back an hour and a half later:
Let’s talk tomorrow.
Michael was right. I was upset with him. It was because of The Last Dance, the ten-part ESPN documentary about the Chicago Bulls’ final championship season (1997–98), which millions of people watched during the early weeks of the pandemic.
Scottie's book is coming out next November 9. After this little preview, fans will be more than interested in purchasing a copy. Considering everything he said before, the legendary player still has plenty of things to reveal about his time as a pro.
It remains to be seen how Jordan, the Bulls, and the public will take Pippen's memoir. He has stirred the pot yet again and we can't wait to know the repercussions of his statements.