The Last Dance set new standards for ESPN’s original content broadcasts, as it aired as the network’s most-viewed documentary piece ever. But despite drawing a viewership of millions, the 10-part series got a mixed reaction, with its biggest critics coming in the form of Michael Jordan’s former teammates.
Horace Grant was the loudest among voices, as he went as far as calling MJ a snitch for overly descrying the sanctity of the locker room. Scottie Pippen is another one, as ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan reported about Pip being “notably silent since the documentary began its run,” with those close to him saying he was “wounded and disappointed by his portrayal.”
But unlike Grant, Scottie refused to publicize his peeve, as he went months without commenting on how accurate The Last Dance was in showing what went on with the Bulls in the 90s. That’s until yesterday when Pippen talked to The Guardian’s Andrew Anthony, giving his take on the series’ veracity.
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 think those things stood out in the documentary. I thought it was more about Michael trying to uplift himself and to be glorified. I think it also backfired to some degree in that people got a chance to see what kind of personality Michael had.Scottie Pippen, The Guardian
This goes along with Ken Burns’ comments on the documentary. An industry legend criticized Michael for “autobiographizing” the piece instead of making it more biographic. As such, “Last Dance” can’t be looked at as a reliable record of history, especially its nonfactual parts.
It’s all how Michael saw it and how he lived through it. He isn’t nor can be the voice for others, and he for sure isn’t one for Pippen. Scottie even told that to MJ, saying he wasn’t too pleased with how the documentary turned out, and Jordan reportedly accepted it. But that’s about it. They never discussed it further than that.
And why would they? The damage has been done, and to be honest, it isn’t as significant. MJ is still the GOAT, he’s still perceived as kind of a jerk, and the 90s Bulls are still the greatest NBA dynasty ever. Oh, and Pippen is still the ultimate teammate and one of the greatest all-around players ever. Nothing shown in The Last Dance can convince us otherwise.