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Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s Friendship Timeline

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s Friendship Timeline

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were once a formidable duo on the basketball floor, but it appears that things have changed for the worse. The bond between the two dates back to the 1980s, when they were both selected for the NBA. Pippen initially signed with the Seattle SuperSonics, while Jordan joined the Chicago Bulls. The two played together and were crucial to the team’s success in the 1990s when the Bulls won a total of six league championships after Pippen was moved to the Bulls. But with time their friendship started getting sour. Scroll down to read details about Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s Friendship Timeline.

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s Friendship Timeline

The athletes still appeared to have a close bond even though the former teammates had left the sport. They supported one another whenever they had the chance and were by each other’s sides when they were honored by the Basketball Hall of Fame. However, everything changed after The Last Dance, an ESPN documentary series, was released in 2020.

The 10-episode documentary followed the Bulls’ 1997–98 campaign, in which they completed their second championship triple crown. It was co–produced by Jordan’s production firm. To Pippen’s dismay, the show strongly emphasized Jordan’s tale even if it highlighted their achievement.

Although Pippen first claimed there was no animosity between the two, he later admitted in his autobiography Unguarded that the documentary “glorified” Jordan and didn’t give “nearly enough praise to him and his proud teammates.”

Pippen later admitted to PEOPLE, “I just thought he had a right to oversee something that, in my opinion, ought to have been more historically focused on the Chicago Bulls, that franchise, and its history. especially the most recent three. And I just didn’t think it went in that route.

Even though Pippen said Jordan personally tried to patch things up, the former NBA star has persisted in publicly criticizing his teammate for his conduct both on and off the court.

Since 2022, Pippen’s ex-wife Larsa Pippen has been dating Jordan’s son Marcus Jordan. Pippen hasn’t commented on his ex-wife’s new man, but in July 2023, Jordan made news when he told TMZ that he didn’t like his son’s relationship.

Here is all there is to know about Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan’s friendship.

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s Friendship Timeline

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen's Friendship Timeline
Credit: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED/GETTY

The late 1980s: Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen meet while playing in the NBA

In 1987, Pippen had already been playing professionally for a few years when Jordan was chosen to join the NBA. When Pippen joined the Chicago Bulls during his rookie season in the league, the two’s friendship officially began. Looking back, Pippen recalls that it was around that period that the two became very close; when they were playing well, it seemed as though no one could beat them.

1990s: Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen win six championships with the Chicago Bulls

The Bulls made NBA history when Jordan and Pippen were on the team, capturing a total of six league championships. On two different occasions, they won the championship title three times in a row. Between the 1991–1993 seasons and the 1996–98 seasons, they achieved their first three-peat.

1999: Scottie Pippen says he misses playing with Michael Jordan

Jordan resigned from basketball after Pippen and Jordan completed their second triple-double, and Pippen continued to play with the Portland Trail Blazers. Pippen acknowledged that he missed playing with Jordan as he thought back on his time as a teammate.

In 1999, Pippen admitted to Sports Illustrated, “I long to play with him. I miss the body language we built together on the court. I miss having each other and the intimidation we brought to the game. I miss winning.”

2009: Michael Jordan thanks Scottie Pippen while being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame

In 2009, Jordan received a nomination for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Jordan mentioned Pippen in the first few sentences of his acceptance speech, saying that he has been at his side for each championship victory.

“I told all of my friends that I would come up here, express my gratitude, and then leave. I can’t. There is no chance. I have a lot of people to thank. I was never the only one in any of the videos. Scottie Pippen was in view. Every title I’ve obtained,” Jordan proclaimed on stage.

2010: Michael Jordan inducts Scottie Pippen into the Basketball Hall of Fame

Jordan assisted in Pippen’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame the following year. Jordan was recognized and complimented for being the “best teammate” throughout the years during Pippen’s speech.

In his address, Pippen said, “MJ, so many lives have been impacted by you, but none like mine. I appreciate you being a great colleague. I will always treasure that experience and I will treasure our relationship forever.”

December 2017: Scottie Pippen commends Michael Jordan while comparing him to LeBron James

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen's Friendship Timeline
Credit: NATHANIEL S. BUTLER/NBAE/GETTY

Pippen made it clear that he was on Jordan’s side in the ongoing argument over who was the greatest basketball player of all time—Jordan or LeBron James. He acknowledged that Jordan and James were statistically extremely similar, but he claimed he would choose his friend Jordan over James every time.

During an interview with ESPN, Pippen stated, “I would never diss Michael Jordan.” “I’ll choose [Jordan] over LeBron every time.”

April 2020: The Last Dance premieres on Netflix

The Last Dance, a documentary series about the Bulls’ historic 1997–1998 season, which saw the team win its sixth title in eight years, made its debut in April 2020. The club knew going into the season that there would be a breakup since coach Phil Jackson would not be coming back.

It was a difficult year. Jordan stated in an interview with Good Morning America that “We were trying to enjoy that year knowing that it was coming to an end. Knowing that I had already wed him, I decided not to play if he wasn’t going to be the coach. 

He said at the beginning of the year, “This is the last dance,” so we treated it as such. We made an effort to celebrate and end the year in a positive manner, as depressing as it may have seemed in the beginning.”

The 10-part documentary was created using more than 500 hours of never-before-seen material and co-produced by Jordan’s own production company, Jump 23. Jordan had only agreed to the season’s filming on the condition that it could only be made public with his consent, according to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. The physical footage was maintained in the team’s archive after the season ended more than 20 years ago and could not be accessed.

April 2020: Michael Jordan admits The Last Dance might make him look like a “horrible guy”

Jordan acknowledged that The Last Dance might not present him in the best light when it was still in production. Jordan acknowledged that some spectators might find him overly intense. He was well renowned for his ferocity and trash-talking on the court.

In an interview with The Athletic, Jordan said, “I’m not sure people will be able to comprehend why I was so intense, why I did the things I did, why I acted the way I did, and why I said the things I said.”

Jordan also brought up how he had treated Scott Burrell, a teammate who had joined the Bulls over the winter when Pippen was out with an injury.

He remarked, “You’re going to think that I’m a terrible guy when you see the footage of (me riding with Scott Burrell). But you must understand that I was treating him badly because I needed him to be tough in the playoffs. After all, we were playing teams from the Eastern Conference like Indiana, Miami, and New York. He needed to be tough, and I wanted to know I could depend on him, he continued. And when others saw me acting in certain situations the way I did in practice, they won’t understand.”

May 2020: Michael Jordan reaches out to Scottie Pippen about The Last Dance

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen's Friendship Timeline
Credit: BARRY BRECHEISEN/WIREIMAGE

Rumors that Pippen was not happy with the documentary or how he was depicted appeared after the release of The Last Dance. In a GQ extract from Pippen’s autobiography Unguarded, Pippen asserted that Jordan texted his former friend and asked, “What’s up dude? I’ve heard that you’re angry with me. If you have the time, I would love to discuss it.

Although Pippen said Jordan only contacted him to make sure he “wouldn’t cause any trouble,” Pippen did discuss the series with Jordan.

“I admitted to him that I wasn’t too happy with it. He agreed to it. Hey, you’re correct, he said. That was it, Pippen said to The Guardian.

July 2020: Scottie Pippen says there are no hard feelings about things said in The Last Dance

Rumors that Pippen was not happy with the documentary or how he was depicted appeared after the release of The Last Dance. In a GQ extract from Pippen’s autobiography Unguarded, Pippen asserted that Jordan texted his former friend and asked, “What’s up dude? I’ve heard that you’re angry with me. If you have the time, I would love to discuss it.

Pippen claimed in public that he was unconcerned with the series even though he was secretly suffering from what he witnessed in The Last Dance. Jordan referred to Pippen’s choice to postpone ankle surgery until after the start of the season as “selfish” in one particular scene, but Pippen insisted that there was no animosity between the former teammates.

Pippen stated, “Why would I find something that happened thirty years ago offensive? In an interview with the Associated Press. I wasn’t annoyed by it. I wasn’t bothered at all by it.”

December 2020: Scottie Pippen says he believes The Last Dance wasn’t accurate

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen's Friendship Timeline
Credit: ANDY HAYT/NBAE/GETTY

Although Pippen had previously dismissed criticism of The Last Dance, he officially acknowledged in December 2020 that he thought the show was inaccurate. Pippen, reflecting, told The Guardian that he thought the film gave too much attention to Jordan and not enough to the team.

He said, “I don’t think it was that accurate in terms of really defining what was accomplished in one of the greatest eras of basketball, but also by two of the greatest players — and one could even put that aside and say the greatest team of all time. I didn’t believe those things stood out in the documentary. “I believed that Michael was mostly attempting to elevate himself and gain attention. In my opinion, it partially backfired because it gave people a chance to see Michael’s personality.”

November 2021: Scottie Pippen says his friendship with Michael Jordan wasn’t what it seemed on television

Before his autobiography, Unguarded, was published, Pippen acknowledged that his friendship with Jordan had not been as publicized as it appeared on television. In an interview with Good Morning America, Pippen clarified that the two were not as close as everyone had assumed.

“What you saw on the court, wasn’t it? We will always respect one another, but our friendship is not what people see on TV,” said Pippen.

November 9, 2021: Scottie Pippen criticizes Michael Jordan and The Last Dance in his Unguarded memoir

Pippen wrote, “With the publication of his memoir, Unguarded, in which he attacked Jordan and The Last Dance, Pippen’s private truth came to light. In addition to saying that he had never been “close” to Jordan, Pippen also expressed his opinion that Jordan had used the docuseries to “glorify” himself at the expense of his colleagues.

“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. They exalted Michael Jordan while barely mentioning me and my ecstatic teammates.

Even in the episode that was centered on his journey, Pippen continued, he felt that Jordan had exploited him as “nothing more than a prop.” Jordan referred to Pippen as his “best teammate of all time” in the documentary series, but Pippen claimed that Jordan “couldn’t have been more condescending if he tried.”

In addition, he stated that neither he nor his colleagues had been paid for taking part in the documentary, even though Jordan was said to have made $10 million.

“To make matters worse, Michael received $10 million for his role in the documentary while my teammates and I received zero compensation, serving as a further reminder of the previous generation’s pecking order. We let cameras into the privacy of our locker rooms, practices, hotels, huddles, and even our lives for a whole season,” Pippen wrote.

Jordan did apologize to Pippen once for a scenario from Game 3 of the Bulls’ playoff series against the New York Knicks that was included in the memoir. After Toni Kukoc’s teammate received the final shot in the tie game, Pippen sat out the final 1.8 seconds of the game.

He continued, “I questioned him about why he had chosen to keep the 1.8-second game, Pippen wrote. “He didn’t say much other than to apologize and explain that he, too, would be angry if it were him. I stopped pressing the issue. I was aware that it wouldn’t help.”

September 2022: Michael Jordan’s son Marcus begins dating Scottie Pippen’s ex-wife Larsa Pippen

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen's Friendship Timeline
Credit: CHARLES SYKES/BRAVO/GETTY

When Pippen’s ex-wife Larsa Pippen and Jordan’s son Marcus Jordan were seen eating lunch together in Miami in September 2022, there were rumours that the two were dating. Larsa at first claimed she was “just friends” with Marcus, but a few months later, sources revealed that they were dating.

Larsa has since been questioned about her ex-husband’s reaction to her new beau, but she has said that they don’t discuss their dating lives.

The woman told PEOPLE, “I feel like I don’t ask my ex who he dates if he doesn’t ask me who I [date]. I feel like we co-parent because all of our conversations are around the kids. And so, that’s generally how things work.I hope he finds happiness, and as long as I’m happy, I don’t care who he dates. He could essentially date anyone on the planet if he was content. I would be more than pleased to show that person some kindness.”

May 2023: Scottie Pippen says Michael Jordan was a “horrible” basketball player

Pippen admitted that he and Jordan were still at odds more than a year after Unguarded came out. Pippen admitted he didn’t think Jordan was a team player while discussing Michael Jordan’s basketball skills during an appearance on Stacey King’s Gimme the Hot Sauce podcast.

Pippen recalled, “Before I joined the Bulls, I saw Michael Jordan play. All of you have seen him perform. He was a terrible sportsman. He was a terrible playmate. All 1-on-1, making poor shots. All of a sudden, we start functioning as a team and winning. Everyone lost track of who he was. He was a player who, in truth, wasn’t the best in his division. It was successful.”

Later on in the podcast, Pippen added that he had no intention of forgiving Jordan or their old coach Jackson.

Pippen stated, “No … Michael and Phil have both been in your presence. They have enormous egos. I don’t submit to individuals like that.”

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