NBA hall-of-famer Pippen said he was “insulted” by The Last Dance’s portrayal of his role in the all-conquering Chicago Bulls team in the 1990s
Six NBA titles were won in eight years by an all-conquering Bulls team led by their formidable partnership during the 1990s.
Netflix’s ten-part retelling of their story, The Last Dance, proved massively popular last year as older fans flocked to the streaming service for a dose of nostalgia, while younger viewers learned more about two men who transcended the sport.
While viewers seemed to love the show, Pippen was left unimpressed with how he and the rest of that incredible Bulls team were portrayed in comparison to Jordan.
He claimed his old team-mate took editorial control of the show, and changed it to show him in a better light to prove he is “still larger than LeBron James“.
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The 56-year-old went on to suggest that James, a four-time championship winner with three different teams, is the better player of the two.
“They glorified Michael Jordan while not giving nearly enough praise to me and my proud team-mates,” Pippen writes in an excerpt from his new book Unguarded.
“Michael deserved a large portion of the blame. The producers had granted him editorial control of the final product. The doc couldn’t have been released otherwise. He was the leading man and the director.
“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.
“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 team-mate of all time’, he called me. He couldn’t have been more condescending if he tried.”
Pippen went on to say that watching it all back reminded him of how much he used to hate the fact he and others were regularly referred to as a backing member of Jordan’s one-man band at the time.
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“Each episode was the same – Michael on a pedestal, his team-mates secondary, smaller, the message no different from when he referred to us back then as his ‘supporting cast’,” he continued.
“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 six for 24 from the field, commit five turnovers, and he was still, in the minds of the adoring press and public, the error-less Jordan.
“Now here I was, in my mid-50s, 17 years since my final game, watching us being demeaned once again. Living through it the first time was insulting enough.”