Scottie Pippen Questions Accuracy of 'The Last Dance'

The final episode of The Last Dance aired over six months ago, but discussions around ESPN's 10-part documentary chronicling Michael Jordan's final season with the Chicago Bulls linger on.

Scottie Pippen, one of the most prominent characters in he documentary, has criticized it for a lack of accuracy, echoing the thoughts of those who felt the film told the story exclusively from Jordan's point of view.

"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," Pippen told The Guardian in a wide-ranging interview earlier this week.

"I didn't think those things stood out in the documentary. I thought it was more about Michael trying to uplift himself and to be glorified."

Jordan's sidekick during the six championship-winning runs that vaulted the 1990s Bulls into NBA lore, Pippen took up the issue with his former teammate, who accepted the criticism.

While Jason Hehir's documentary has been a hit with viewers and received almost universal acclaim, the veracity of some of Jordan's claims has been questioned.

In May, Sam Smith, the author of The Jordan Rules, suggested the six-time NBA champion "lied about" multiple incidents in the documentary.

Smith dismissed Jordan's claims he had food poisoning after eating pizza the night before Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals and that Pippen, head coach Phil Jackson and Dennis Rodman would have been happy to return for the 1998-99 season had they been offered a new deal by the Bulls.

Horace Grant, who was part of the Bulls team that won the franchise's first three-peat between 1991 and 1993, suggested the documentary was edited to make Jordan look better.

While Jordan won five MVP awards and was named NBA Finals MVP six times during the 11 years he played together with Pippen in Chicago, he admitted those achievements would not have been possible without his trusted lieutenant.

"I considered him my best teammate of all time," Jordan said in the documentary of Pippen, who was selected with the fifth overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft and averaged 20.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.2 steals and 0.9 blocks throughout his career.

The Last Dance also delved into the feud that Pippen had developed with Bulls general manager Jerry Krause and his frustration at being paid less than he felt he deserved.

"I think at the time there were moments when it was upsetting but also there was so much joy that rose among the pain that I was feeling," he told The Guardian.

"There was too much to celebrate and enjoy to be thinking about the negative side of it."

Following the Bulls' first title in 1991, Pippen signed a five-year extension worth $18 million, which was due to become effective from 1993 at the end of his six-year rookie contract.

At the time of the agreement, the sum would have placed the Bulls forward among the 15 highest-paid NBA players, but the scenario had changed radically by 1995, prompting Pippen to demand a trade.

The former Central Arkansas star was linked to a series of teams but the Bulls never traded, leading him to demand Krause as a "compulsive liar".

Pippen never made more than $4 million a year during the Bulls' six title runs and, according to Hoops Hype, and was ranked among the NBA's best-paid players just once over the period.

Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls
Michael Jordan (L) and Scottie Pippen (R) of the Chicago Bulls talk during the final minutes of their game in the 1997 NBA Eastern Conference finals aaginst the Miami Heat at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Vincent Laforet/AFP/Getty