IT has been weeks since National Basketball Association (NBA) great Scottie Pippen made the latest of his verbal tirades against former Chicago Bulls teammate Michael Jordan and its shockwaves are still being felt around the basketball world.
People are still talking about it. And like every other broadside since the telecast of The Last Dance, Pippen’s opinions have been outright outrageous and inane; the warbling of a hurt man.
My question about The Last Dance—was it about Michael Jordan or was it about the Chicago Bulls?
My problem with The Last Dance is how the writing missed out on key players—Ron Harper, Toni Kukoc and Luc Longley. The oversight made the documentary unsatisfying. So ultimately, it looked like everything was from Jordan’s perspective. They could have added two more episodes to tell the complete story.
Now, the problem with The Last Dance is it had to tell the story of the Bulls from the time they drafted Michael Jordan. If you are going to go all the way back, then you should have included Doug Collins and other characters.
They should have concentrated on that 1997-98 season. By doing so, they would have avoided Pippen’s Migraine game, his being bullied by Xavier McDaniel, his being labeled as soft etc. That season alone was filled with a lot of drama and a multitude of sub-plots from the team trading away Jason Caffey to “give more responsibility to Dennis Rodman” to all the arenas being filled to the battles with the Miami Heat etc.
The dismantling of the Bulls should have been featured with the cast scattered to the four corners of the NBA.
If the filmmakers concentrated on that season, they would have just zeroed in on Pippen’s late return to the season. Because by going back, it looks like the negatives of Scottie were highlighted.
While all of that truly happened, that is reopening old wounds. And it did happen. That is a startling poor judgement on the part of the filmmaker. Unless he was just there to please Jordan.
It is certainly false that Jordan and Pippen had a poor relationship when they played together with the Bulls. There is no supporting evidence during that time or in the decades after. All this vitriol came after…The Last Dance.
Seriously. The Last Dance was meant to remind the millennials and Gen Z who is Michael Jordan so he can rebut all these LeBron James talk about being the Greatest of All Time. Pure and simple.
If it wasn’t then it should have been out in 2018, the anniversary of The Last Dance. So 2020 was an odd year to release it.
Did the filmmaker even bother to show this to a small audience who could have offered their take on that particular cut?
Whether Jordan approved it or not, this is why you need that other voice. It is to his credit that he didn’t answer back to the criticism coming from Pippen and even Luc Longley.
While I am a Jordan fan (as a basketball player and not the person), the documentary succeeded in edging James out of that GOAT conversation. Let me get this straight too—I am a James fan, but really, as great as he is, he is not the GOAT.
Was Wilt Chamberlain considered the GOAT because of his far superior stats to Bill Russell? Why was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar not considered the GOAT? After all, he won six NBA titles—one with the Milwaukee Bucks and six with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Is it because he wasn’t the best player on the latter Laker squads? Or LA lost in three finals to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics, and the Detroit Pistons?
Anyways, it is sad to see this fallout or end of this relationship (Jordan and Pippen). In my opinion, it has gone past the point of no return with every derogatory and stupid thing Pippen has said. Plus, it is in his book. Making everything worse is his ex-wife Larsa Pippen has struck up a relationship with Marcus Jordan, Michael’s son.
The sad thing is—Pippen comes out the loser here. Even other NBA greats have teed off on him.
As for The Last Dance, in my opinion, it is tainted. I cannot watch any documentary (from the one that was released by the NBA after that season) or anything since without thinking of its repercussions.
Image credits: Jerry Coli | Dreamstime.com