Michael Jordan’s greatest teammate has unloaded on the NBA icon, revealing how he really feels about their relationship breakdown.
Scottie Pippen has revealed just how little he thinks of Michael Jordan following the worldwide hit documentary series into the Chicago Bulls’ sixth championship campaign.
The 56-year-old has previously criticised how he was portrayed in ‘The Last Dance’ series — and a new book published this month shows the depth of the loathing behind the relationship breakdown between one of the most iconic duos in NBA history.
Pippen says he hated the media portrayal in which he was a perpetual Robin to Jordan’s Batman — and that his relationship with “the immortal Jordan” was mostly always distant.
“Michael and I aren’t close and never have been,” Pippen has written in his new memoir Unguarded.
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“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 naive 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 five turnovers, and he was still, in the minds of the adoring press and public, the Errorless Jordan.”
Pippen had promised to expose the real story behind the Bulls’ famed sixth NBA championship of the nineties when he first revealed details of the book in June.
Pippen and Jordan were teammates in Chicago from 1987 to 1993 and again from 1995 to 1998. Jordan presented Pippen when he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, and the two reunited publicly in 2017, for an event at Jordan’s Flight School camp in California.
However, Pippen’s feelings toward his old teammate again turned sour after the release of the The Last Dance in 2020.
Pippen has publicly expressed his disdain for how the story was told in the The Last Dance six-part series, which was co-produced by Jordan’s Jump 23 company.
Pippen said he confronted Jordan over his feelings about the documentary last year.
“I told him I wasn’t too pleased with it. He accepted it. He said, ‘Hey, you’re right’. That was pretty much it,” Pippen recalled.
In the new book Pippen reveals his displeasure in reports Jordan earned $10 million as the star of the series — while his teammates didn’t get a cent for their interviews in the series.
He writes he is not the only Bulls star of that 1998 season to feel “disrespected” by the glorification of Jordan in the series.
“How dare Michael treat us that way after everything we did for him and his precious brand,” he writes.
“Michael Jordan would never have been Michael Jordan without me, Horace Grant, Toni Kukoc, John Paxson, Steve Kerr, Dennis Rodman, Bill Cartwright, Ron Harper, B. J. Armstrong, Luc Longley, Will Perdue, and Bill Wennington.”
It is not the first time Pippen has openly complained about the fortunes earned by Jordan which dwarfed the combined earning of the rest of the team.
As the team entered the 1997/98 season, aiming for their sixth title, the contracts of the roster painted a stark image.
Jordan was the best player in the game, nobody was disputing that, and his salary reflected his standing. Jordan earned a stunning $33,140,000 in his final season in Chicago.
That’s when things take a wild turn. The entire salary of the Chicago Bulls 15-man roster in their final championship season came in at $61,330,670.
Once you remove Jordan’s salary, that leaves only $28,190,670 which was spent on the remaining 14 players on the squad.
The superstar number two on the Bulls only earned $2,775,000 in the Bulls’ final championship run.
Pippen’s ultimate dream — of feeling wanted and well-paid — was fulfilled when he next joined the Houston Rockets in 1999 for a five-year deal that paid $67 million.
After 10 surgeries, Pippen finally called it quits in 2008 — but the twists of his story are still being revealed.