For the past five weeks, ESPN has blessed NBA fans with a documentary on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls season, better known as Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s final with the franchise.
Since Sunday and the final two episodes of “The Last Dance” aired, it has been reported Pippen doesn’t like how he was portrayed in the film and I have to say, I struggle to feel sorry for him.
My guess is Pippen’s qualms start with how the documentary and season began as he prolonged surgery so that it didn’t “fuck up his summer” as he said. The real reason, as he gets to later, is his frustration with Bulls management over a contract he signed in 1991.
Pippen uses the fact he was grossly underpaid by the late 90’s as justification for acting lets just say, a little selfish. Here’s the thing though, Pippen took the longterm security over a shorter term, higher paid year-by-year deal that players prefer now.
This was common place back then, evidenced by for example a 25 year, $25 million dollar deal Magic Johnson famously signed in the mid-80’s with the Lakers. Funny how the documentary didn’t contextualize that this was a common practice for the stars of then and instead just said he was underpaid.
To me avoiding context in favour of something else seems pretty pro that person but what do I know?
All of the underpaid stuff is of course also forgetting Jordan was making basically the same salary until the end of the 96 season as Pippen and was therefore also grossly underpaid. Bulls management signed him to a fair deal once his contract expired, they likely would’ve done the same with Pippen but again, what do I know?
The documentary then covers Pippen’s two most infamous moments of his career: the migraine game versus Detroit and the Toni Kukoc game winner versus New York.
Firstly, the migraine game where all Jordan needed was a little help from his lone All-Star teammate to dethrone the Bad Boy Pistons but instead got a Pippen who couldn’t see the rim let alone provide much help. This moment was literally as pro-Pippen as it could’ve been. Instead of crushing him for folding when his team needed him most, it was understanding of his predicament.
So, why the hell is Pippen mad, it seems like every chance they got they were pro him?
Well, with the exception of game three of their second round playoff series against the Knicks in 94 when Jordan was playing baseball. The Bulls had a last second chance to win the game and Phil Jackson drew up a play for Kukoc instead of Pippen.
Scottie being the mature adult he was, accepted the choice and inbounded the ball as planned right? WRONG.
Pippen acted like a kid better suited for middle school basketball than the NBA and refused to play because he thought he deserved that shot now that Jordan had moved on.
Completely ignoring the fact Kukoc made the shot as Pippen pouted on the sideline like a 12 year-old whose parents declined him ice cream before dinner, how do you quit on your team like that in the biggest moment of the season?
How can anyone honest to god feel sorry for Scottie Pippen? The only reason he’s on The Jump every week and ESPN employs him is because of Michael Jordan.
Pippen was a great player, don’t get me wrong, but his fame and the magnitude we care about him as a collective basketball community is literally because of one man. Then, Pippen has the audacity to be mad at that one man when he didn’t have final cut of the film and, didn’t make any changes or ask for any according to the director and multiple producers.
Guess what, Scottie, the only person you have to blame for how you come across is you.
Sorry that you acting like a spoiled 12 year old in the middle of a playoff game and then saying you’d do it all over again doesn’t make you look great. Sorry that waiting to have surgery, screwing over your team for multiple months because you can’t accept you signed a bad deal makes you look bad.
Hey Scottie you know who else thinks they’re underpaid? LITERALLY EVERY PERSON NOT NAME JEFF BEZOS (and lets be honest about Bezos).
Scottie Pippen comes across poorly at times because he acted poorly at times, it’s as simple as that. This of course ignores the countless times they cater to borderline propaganda in support of him (here’s looking at you scene where Dennis Rodman falsely claims Scottie was the best player in the world when MJ retired).
Don’t feel bad for Scottie Pippen watching The Last Dance, feel happy because so many truths about him are finally being put in the public. Pippen was an all-time great player, top 50 ever, but moments of childishness in this film show you every reason why he was a two and not a one when it mattered most.
He was a bit of a flake and that’s okay when you’re not the one setting the tone for an entire franchise. Everyone loves to remember the Bulls record in 93-94 but what about when they were barely above .500 before Jordan returned the next season?
The truth about Scottie Pippen is he was destined to be a second fiddle because he couldn’t handle the lead responsibilities. Sometimes the truth is hard to hear and it appears Scottie is struggling with the realities of his career and personality.