Scottie Pippen downplays Michael Jordan’s crack after ‘Last Dance’

Scottie Pippen says he has spoken to Michael Jordan since the documentary “The Last Dance” aired in the spring, and played down any rift between the retired stars of the Chicago Bulls.

“Why would something that happened 30 years ago offend me?” Pippen said.

Jordan highly praised Pippen in the documentary recounting the Bulls dynasty of the 1990s as the best teammate he ever had. But Jordan called Pippen in the second episode for making a “selfish” decision to delay off-season surgery on a broken ankle tendon until after the start of the 1997-98 season. Jordan said in the documentary that he did not understand Pippen’s decision.

There were reports that Pippen was not happy with his performance in the documentary, but said Tuesday: “He was not upset about that.” The documentary also included Pippen’s refusal to enter Game 3 of the 1994 Eastern Conference semifinals in the closing seconds.

“It didn’t bother me at all,” said Pippen. “It was an opportunity for our younger generation who had not seen or known anything about basketball in the 1990s.”

The series aired for five consecutive Sunday nights in April and May and featured never-before-seen footage from the 1997-98 season, when the team pursued its sixth championship in an eight-year span.

Pippen, 54, won six NBA championships with the Bulls, was an All-Star seven times, and won two Olympic gold medals. He is now an NBA analyst, primarily for The Jump, an ESPN study show.

He chose the Los Angeles Lakers as the favorite to leave Florida as the NBA champion.

“If you wanted to pick one, I would say which team LeBron James is on,” said Pippen. “The fact that his experience, his ability to unite a team, the ability to be dominant, is the most dominant player in the game right now with Kevin Durant not in the game.”

The documentary was a ratings winner when the sport was on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. ESPN and Nielsen said the last two episodes of ‘The Last Dance “averaged 5.6 million viewers.