Former Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen has been vocal about his displeasure with “The Last Dance”, the acclaimed Netflix sports documentary chronicling the Michael Jordan’s final NBA season with the Bulls.
Previously, Pippen told The Guardian that he felt the series “was more about Michael trying to uplift himself and to be glorified,” and he’s got plenty more to say about it in his new memoir, Unguarded.
In an excerpt from the book published in GQ, Pippen continues to slam Jordan — who was also a producer on “The Last Dance” — for building himself up at the expense of his teammates.
“They glorified Michael Jordan while not giving nearly enough praise to me and my proud teammates. Michael deserved a large portion of the blame. The producers had granted him editorial control of the final product,” Pippen wrote in Unguarded.
“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,” Pippen continued.
“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,’” Pippen added, also blaming the media for its near-deification of Jordan. “From one season to the next, we received little or no credit whenever we won but the bulk of the criticism when we lost,” he wrote. “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.”
Pippen also brings up another issue: money. “To make things worse, Michael received $10 million for his role in the doc while my teammates and I didn’t earn a dime, another reminder of the pecking order from the old days,” he noted. “For an entire season, we allowed cameras into the sanctity of our locker rooms, our practices, our hotels, our huddles… our lives.”
According to Pippen, watching the documentary reopened old wounds. “Now here I was, in my mid-fifties, 17 years since my final game, watching us being demeaned once again. Living through it the first time was insulting enough.”
Unguarded will be released on Nov. 9.