Scottie Pippen has been bashing Michael Jordan left and right ever since ESPN’s The Last Dance docuseries came out in April 2020. The former Chicago Bulls small forward is upset that the documentary glorified MJ while not giving enough credit to him and his teammates for the dynasty years.
Pippen hated being in Jordan’s shadow and felt underappreciated during his playing days. However, the Arkansas native needs to go back and look at the old tapes because His Airness always went out of his way to compliment him.
Michael Jordan called Scottie Pippen his MVP in 1997
While receiving his fifth Finals MVP Award in 1997 after the Bulls defeated the Utah Jazz, Jordan grabbed Pippen and had him hold the MVP trophy with him. The 10-time scoring champion told the swingman, “You my MVP, dawg.”
When NBC Sports’ Ahmad Rashad asked Jordan why Pippen was his MVP, here’s what he had to say: “We’re a tandem. It’s hard to split us up. He means a lot to me when I go out and play on the basketball court. He relieves a lot of the pressure that I have to deal with. I try to do the same for him. It’s hard to take this MVP by myself. He’s got to take half of it. I’ll take the trophy. He may get the car.”
Jordan and Pippen won six championships together on the Bulls. They three-peated twice and never lost in the Finals. While Jordan won all six Finals MVPs, he never underestimated how valuable Pippen was, which is why he spoke glowingly of him in The Last Dance.
Michael Jordan: I didn’t win without Scottie Pippen
In Episode 2 of The Last Dance, Jordan called Pippen his best teammate of all time and reminded the viewers that he never won anything without the do-it-all wing.
“I would never be able to find a tandem, another support system, another partner in the game of basketball like Scottie Pippen,” Jordan said. “He was a pleasure to play with. He helped me so much in the way that I approached the game, the way I played the game. Whenever they speak Michael Jordan, they should speak Scottie Pippen. When everybody says, well, I won all these championships, but I didn’t win without Scottie Pippen and, you know, that’s why I consider him my best teammate of all time.”
Jordan never won a playoff series without Pippen. While he was a superstar the moment he stepped foot in the NBA, the North Carolina product needed Pip to win six championships.
MJ and Pip needed each other
Jordan needed Pippen, and Pippen needed Jordan. The All-Stars made each other better and had unbelievable chemistry on the court. Pippen may sound bitter now, but he can’t deny how special he and Jordan were on the hardwood.
The Bulls were 514-177 in the regular season when Jordan and Pippen played. In the Finals, Jordan averaged 33.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in 35 games, while Pippen put up 19.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game.
Pippen wrote in his book that Jordan “couldn’t have been more condescending if he tried” in The Last Dance. It’s been sad to watch the seven-time All-Star take so many shots at the five-time MVP since they were so fun to watch in the ’90s and never spoke negatively about each other.
However, it’s evident The Last Dance really rubbed Pippen the wrong way.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference