Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen are two of the greatest NBA players of all time. Up until recently, they also served as a model for the best partnership in sports history.
Unfortunately, things fell apart relatively quickly over the past year and change when Jordan released his Last Dance documentary. Pippen didn’t take kindly to it, and he wasn’t shy about letting folks know why.
Their relationship devolved quickly from there. Pippen made a serious of troubling allegations about Jordan, plus just went on a general campaign where he criticized his teammate to no end. It got ugly.
Seattle SuperSonics legend Gary Payton had some memorable run-ins with Jordan and Pippen. He also knows better than most what it’s like to be belittled by Jordan. His fiery response to Jordan’s Last Dance documentary spoke for itself.
This past week, during a conversation with DJ Vlad, Payton went into detail regarding why he believes a rift exists between Jordan and Pippen.
“Scottie Pippen changed a lot of things for the Chicago Bulls,” Payton said.
“If he wasn’t there. I think they wouldn’t won a lot of games because he did guard the best player, he made the big crucial plays, he got the crucial rebounds he got the crucial blocks and things like that. that’s why he was a little salty about the Last Dance.”
That said, Payton was also quick to point out that Pippen has historically received credit for his contributions to those Bulls teams.
“He’s got his credit, he knows what he was, and I know what he was and basketball players know what he was and people who know basketball understand how that Bulls team wouldn’t have been the Bulls team without him on it,” the Sonics legend added.
Now that’s how you celebrate a Super Bowl win. https://t.co/ewns5NQxeA
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 16, 2022
At the end of the day, Pippen is not wrong to be upset with how Jordan portrayed him in the Last Dance. There’s a reason why a Bulls star came out and backed him up. But he has taken it a little far.
It’s unlikely that Jordan and Pippen can mend their relationship now, but it would certainly be great if they did. They changed basketball history forever, together, and it’s a shame that they’ll end up likely going to their graves as enemies rather than friends.