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Scottie Pippen opens up on bitter rivalry with Michael Jordan in memoir | Michael Jordan

During the Nineties, the Chicago Bulls dominated US basketball, successful six championships, by no means shedding a ultimate, and serving to to propel the NBA into changing into a multibillion-dollar world enterprise.

But behind the scenes, the dynastic partnership of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, offered on the time as harmonious and brotherly, was something however, Pippen reveals in an unusually bitter memoir, Unguarded, revealed this week.

As with many sporting disputes earlier than it, Pippen’s anger arises from the sense that he was solely partially credited for the group’s success throughout its historic run. The Last Dance, final yr’s 10-episode Netflix-ESPN documentary, he writes, “glorified Michael Jordan while not giving nearly enough praise to me and my proud teammates”.

“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,” he fumes, based on an extract revealed in GQ final week.

“Michael deserved a large portion of the blame” for the omissions, he writes, saying that the producers of the sequence had granted the participant editorial management. “He was the leading man and the director.”


“Michael was determined to prove to the current generation of fans that he was larger than life during his day – and still larger than LeBron James, the player many consider his equal, if not superior.”

“How dare Michael treat us that way after everything we did for him and his precious brand,” Pippen writes, including, “to make things worse, Michael received $10m for his role in the doc, while my teammates and I didn’t earn a dime.”

But the participant rationalised the characterisation of Jordan in an interview with the New York Times. “I think he’s always separated himself a little bit from what I consider the traditional team concept, in some sense. And I think The Last Dance just put the icing on the cake.

“Each episode was the same: Michael on a pedestal, his teammates secondary, smaller, the message no different from when he referred to us back then as his ‘supporting cast’.”


Pippen’s accusations, to which Jordan has but to reply, shouldn’t be the primary to reveal the fact behind artistic, aggressive relationships as soon as regarded as harmonious.

Scottie Pippen
‘Each episode was the same: Michael on a pedestal, his teammates secondary,’ says Scottie Pippen of the documentary The Last Dance. Photograph: Chris Elise/NBAE/Getty Images

Newscaster Katie Couric got here out with a stinging autobiography depicting rivalry and backstabbing throughout her time in TV information. Paul McCartney’s The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present opens up a couple of tough patch in his relationship with John Lennon.

“When we broke up and everyone was now flailing around, John turned nasty,” McCartney writes. “I don’t really understand why. Maybe because we grew up in Liverpool, where it was always good to get in the first punch of a fight.”

“I don’t know what he hoped to gain, other than punching me in the face,” McCartney says. “The whole thing really annoyed me. John would say things like, ‘It was rubbish. The Beatles were crap’. Also, ‘I don’t believe in the Beatles, I don’t believe in Jesus, I don’t believe in God.’”


“Those were quite hurtful barbs to be flinging around, and I was the person they were being flung at, and it hurt,” he added.

But Pippen has gone farther than most in unburdening himself of his disappointment with his artistic accomplice, and there are undercurrents of different, extra entrenched variations.

Jordan grew up with three siblings and a secure household life: his mom, Delores, a financial institution teller turned creator; his father James, a upkeep employee turned supervisor at General Electric. Pippen, against this, grew up in Arkansas with 11 older siblings. His father labored in a paper mill till he was paralysed by a stroke. Early in his profession, in 1991, Pippen signed himself right into a seven-year contract that finally made him solely the 122nd highest paid participant in the NBA. “I felt like I couldn’t afford to gamble myself if I got injured,” he says in the movie. “I needed to make sure that people in my corner were taken care of.”

In the 1997-98 season, Pippen took outing for tendon surgical procedure and Jordan accused him of being “selfish”. Pippen hits again: “You want to know what selfish is? Selfish is retiring right before the start of training camp when it is too late for the organisation to sign free agents” – a reference to Jordan’s surprising first retirement, aged 30, in 1993.

“It’s not because I don’t love the game. I love the game of basketball,” Jordan mentioned on the time. “I just feel that, at this particular time in my career, I have reached the pinnacle of my career. I have achieved a lot in that short amount of time, if you want to call it short. But I just feel that I don’t have anything else for myself to prove.”

To Pippen, abandoning his group was egocentric. “Seeing again how poorly Michael treated his teammates, I cringed, as I did back then.”


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