Rumor: The Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen relationship might be fractured
Pippen was reportedly upset with how he was portrayed in “The Last Dance” documentary. Smith, who was interviewed for the Bulls docuseries, says Pippen could be mad at Jordan after MJ said Scottie was being “selfish” for delaying his surgery in the 1997-98 season:
“I don’t think their relationship is good now,” the longtime Bulls writer told Isaac Chotiner of The New Yorker. “I know Scottie was hurt by his portrayal. He was hurt, I believe, when Michael said he was selfish when he sat out.
“I think he was maybe not upset, maybe hurt. Because I think he valued Michael. I think he was at Michael’s wedding when he got remarried. So they’ve always had an ambivalent relationship, that Scottie would like to be in Michael’s group, because, obviously, being around Michael, the spotlight shines brighter, but Scottie never saw himself as a sycophant. And Michael tends to treat the people around him as, maybe not servants, but helpers.
“And Scotty would resent, at times, Michael’s treatment of him as less than an equal. I think he drifts back and forth in the relationship. And I think, with the documentary, his thing is probably to drift away a little bit. But I could see him coming back again.”
Pippen only played in 44 games for the Bulls in 1997-98. He purposely delayed his foot surgery to thumb his nose at management over a contract dispute.
Although the Bulls won the title in ’98 over the Utah Jazz in six games, the beginning of the season was rough for Jordan and Co. sans Pippen.
Bulls fans are hoping Jordan and Pippen will settle whatever tension there is between the two down the line. They are arguably the best duo in NBA history. Jordan presented Pippen at Scottie’s Hall of Fame induction. MJ also called Pippen his best teammate of all time.