Scottie Pippen on whether he would have ‘quit’ on Bulls if Michael Jordan was there
When Michael Jordan first retired on 1993, Scottie Pippen was left to lead a Chicago Bulls team fresh off an NBA title three-peat. And lead he did, helping solidify a 55-27 record and a third seed in the East. However, on the semi-finals’ game three against the New York Knicks, Pippen would make one of the most controversial decisions in his career, refusing to step on court after a heated exchange with head coach Phil Jackson.
“The Last Dance” director Jason Hehir subsequently asked Pippen about the event during interviews for the hit docu-series, specifically if Michael Jordan was around.
“I asked … not on the team, but if [Michael Jordan] was sitting behind the bench in the second row, would you have done that?” Hehir said. “[Pippen] said he would have done the same thing.”
"'If Michael was there, if he was in the building … would you have done that?'"#TheLastDance director @jasonmhehir discusses what he asked Scottie about sitting out the end of a playoff game. pic.twitter.com/m7jcLJMeBP
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 11, 2020
Hehir also contemplated how they were going to frame Pippen’s answers in the series. They eventually decided to show “everything,” including other former teammates’ reactions in addition to Jordan who was watching everything while in his baseball stint. One of these players was current Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who recalled that they didn’t know how to act. “He quit on us. And we couldn’t believe that happened. It was devastating.”
The All-Star forward’s move especially made headlines as the New York Knicks had won both games one and two. Chicago would end up winning the game after Toni Kukoc hit a buzzer-beater.
Patrick Ewing and his Knicks, however, would go on to take the series in game seven. Following Jordan’s return, Chicago would then experience one more three-peat.