Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen ignited something of a firestorm last month when he torched Michael Jordan in his memoir over some Last Dance drama. As Pippen saw it, not enough credit was given to the players that helped MJ achieve all he did in the Windy City.
“Each episode [of The Last Dance] was the same: Michael on a pedestal, his teammates secondary, smaller,” he wrote. “The message [was] no different from when he referred to us back then as his ‘supporting cast.'”
Those were some of the nicer things he had to say about it.
Not everybody involved with the Bulls teams of the ’80s and ’90s has the same axe to grind, though. For his part, NBA legend Charles Oakley — who played with the Bulls from 1985 to ’88, then again during the 2001-02 campaign — thinks some of the documentary’s detractors need to check themselves.
“A lot of these guys in ‘The Last Dance’ are mad about what he said about them. Like, half of y’all couldn’t play, so how are y’all mad?” Oakley said during a November 29 interview with Betway. “You should be glad that he mentioned you!”
Oakley on Pippen: ‘He Feels Like He’s Better Than Mike’
As Oakley sees it, there has to be something beyond what happened with The Last Dance driving Pippen. He believes that Pippen’s beef with Jordan has likely become deep-seated over a number of years.
“I think it’s something else that happened,” Oakley said. “We don’t know, but one day we will find out. I don’t think Scottie would just turn from all this from ‘The Last Dance.’ Some stuff happened 10, 20 years ago but now he’s got a platform to talk about it.”
He further opined that Pippen wanted to establish himself as being superior to Jordan from their first year as teammates.
“Scottie feels like he’s got six rings, Michael’s got six rings. One thing he did say when he first got to the league when he was a rookie, he said he wanted to be better than Mike,” Oakley revealed.
“He feels like he’s better than Mike. He said it back then, a lot of people just didn’t hear him say it. If you asked 100 people who’s better, 99 are going to say Michael Jordan, so [Scottie’s] the one. There’s always one, right?”
What He Thinks About the Current Bulls
Oakley covered a number of other subjects during his Betway interview, including the 2021-22 version of the Bulls crew. And it’s clear that he’s a big fan of the team’s current direction.
“They made some great transactions during the summer,” he said. “Lonzo Ball, a true point guard, [DeMar] DeRozan’s another leader. They just broke some pieces in and right now they’re clicking.”
Oakley noted that the big push really began at last year’s trade deadline. And while the first wave of moves didn’t result in ending Chicago’s playoff drought last season, he sees them continuing to pay off throughout the current campaign.
“Last year they made a lot of trades right before the trade deadline and then didn’t kick in but now you can see the guys put the work in, they’re coming back this year with a fresh start and showing that they’re going to be a team to be reckoned with during the course of the year.”