Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Scottie Pippen has been going off on Michael Jordan since ESPN’s The Last Dance docuseries premiered in April 2020. The six-time champion felt belittled and disrespected by MJ, who had editorial control over the docuseries.
Pippen’s new memoir, Unguarded, is filled with Jordan slander. Not only does Pippen believe Jordan used The Last Dance to remind the current generation of fans that he’s better than LeBron James, but he also thinks LeBron is the GOAT.
Scottie Pippen: Michael Jordan ruined basketball, LeBron James is the GOAT
Pippen took a major shot at Jordan by writing that His Airness “ruined basketball.” The former small forward believes the five-time MVP only cared about scoring, which is why he thinks LeBron is the best player in NBA history since the King does everything.
“I may go as far to say Mike ruined basketball,” Pippen wrote. “In the 80s on the playgrounds you’d have everyone moving the ball around — passing to help the team. That stopped in the 90s. Kids wanted to be ‘Like Mike.’ Well, Mike didn’t want to pass — didn’t want to rebound, or defend the best player. He wanted everything done for him. That’s why I always believed LeBron James was the greatest player this game has ever seen — he does everything and embodies what the game is truly about.”
Pippen said LeBron didn’t have the clutch gene like Jordan and Kobe Bryant just a few years ago. He also stated he would never pick LeBron over Jordan in an important game. The Last Dance clearly rubbed Pippen the wrong way, and he’s doing everything in his power to get back at Jordan.
The Bulls won six championships during the ’90s. They three-peated twice and never lost in the Finals. Jordan won 10 scoring titles, five regular-season MVPs, one Defensive Player of the Year Award, and six Finals MVPs with Chicago, but Pippen’s contributions were significant as well, and he obviously feels he didn’t get enough credit for the Bulls’ success.
Scottie Pippen was an elite two-way player
During the Bulls’ championship run, Pippen ranked second on the team in scoring, second in rebounds, second in minutes, first in assists, and first in steals. From 1990-91 to 1997-98, the two-way swingman averaged 20.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 2.2 steals while shooting 48.4%.
Pippen is upset Jordan called him “selfish” in The Last Dance for delaying his foot surgery on purpose and requesting a trade in 1997-98. The Arkansas native is also angry the docuseries covered the Bulls’ 1994 playoff series against the New York Knicks when he refused to go into a game.
What’s even more astonishing is that Pippen even got annoyed when Jordan called him his best teammate of all time: “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.”
There are some hard feelings between Pippen and Jordan, mostly coming from the former. As far as who the GOAT is between Jordan and LeBron, that debate may never come to an end.
Michael Jordan and LeBron James will always be linked
Jordan is the reason LeBron wears No. 23 (he switched to No. 6 this season). Superman was LBJ’s idol growing up. The two will forever be linked.
However, the GOAT debate is pretty impossible to settle. Both superstars are once-in-a-generation players who have done things with a basketball that humans shouldn’t be able to do. At this point, everyone should be entitled to their own opinion on who their GOAT is, and it sounds like Pippen is going with LeBron because of his all-around play.
LeBron is the only player in NBA history to rank top-10 all-time in points and assists. He’s the third-leading scorer in NBA history and has a good shot of passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for first place. The four-time champion is also eighth all-time in assists.
LeBron may have scored more points than Jordan, but the Bulls great was a superior scorer. He’s the NBA’s all-time leader in points per game both in the regular season and playoffs. Jordan also went 6-0 in the Finals, while LeBron is 4-6 and has been swept twice.
Pippen may be saying LeBron is better than Jordan as his way of getting back at his former teammate for how The Last Dance turned out. While it’s been sad to see Pip take so many shots at Black Jesus, he definitely doesn’t care what people think.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference
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