The Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen relationship has really deteriorated ever since the release of ESPN’s “The Last Dance” in 2020. One of their former teammates on the Chicago Bulls now appears to be taking Pippen’s side.
Retired ex-Bull Stacey King appeared this week on ESPN’s “The Lowe Post.” King, who is now a commentator for the Bulls, criticized Jordan for the portrayal of Pippen in “The Last Dance.”
“I thought that the documentary was really good for the fans,” said King. “It gave people, in a down time with COVID, something to be happy about … It opened up a new set of fans for the Bulls teams back then. More people recognized that Michael was as good as their parents said he was. [But] I thought it was a little bit sensationalized. I didn’t like the way Scottie was portrayed in certain things. In that documentary, a lot of things Scottie did didn’t really pertain to that second three-peat. You know, the 1.8 seconds was when MJ was retired. In my opinion, that really didn’t need to be brought into ‘The Last Dance.’ It had nothing to do with that.”
King is referring to the notorious incident where Pippen refused to play the last 1.8 seconds of a 1994 playoff game after head coach Phil Jackson drew up the final shot for Toni Kukoc. The moment occurred during Jordan’s first retirement and is still a sore spot for Pippen, who recently called it “racist.”
King then went on to laud Pippen for fighting through a migraine headache in Game 7 of the 1990 Eastern Conference Finals, which the Bulls ended up losing to the Detroit Pistons.
“I was there when Scottie had the migraine,” said King. “When you have one of the worst migraines, you can’t see, which Scottie couldn’t. He was in so much pain, coming to Detroit for that Game 7. He was in tears, and he tried to play. Couldn’t see and was just so visibly shaken by not being able to play. And he got such a bad rap for that. His teammates knew what he was going through, knew that he went out there and he wanted to play. To have that in a documentary, bringing that back up? We ended up winning three straight championships after that … I thought Scottie was treated harshly there and I understand where he is coming from. Scottie has always felt he doesn’t get the attention he deserves. He’s always been looked at as Robin to Batman.”
King played for the Bulls from 1989 to 1994. He was part of the first three-peat with Jordan and Pippen but was eventually traded to Minnesota for Luc Longley, who was the starting center for Chicago’s second three-peat.
Meanwhile, “The Last Dance” was a huge hit with fans when it was released in 2020. But Jordan had creative control over the documentary, leading to questions over objectivity and the portrayal of the non-Jordan participants.
While Pippen was interviewed in the documentary, he was reportedly livid over his portrayal and has taken multiple shots at Jordan since then. Other former Bulls were unhappy about the documentary as well, so Pippen and King do not appear to be alone in their assessments.
H/T NBA Reddit
Photo: Dec 21, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan unveils the new Charlotte Hornets logo at halftime during the game against the Utah Jazz at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports