'The Last Dance,' a 10-part documentary series that featured behind the scenes footage of the 1997-1998 Bulls season, aired Sunday night; this season would be the last for Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen, and Michael Jordan as Bulls. While watching the show, I made it a point to write down notes and highlights of the film that were incredibly important at the moment. Michael Jordan is mostly emphasized throughout this series, but it seems that with each episode, a player from that team will be highlighted and interviewed at length.
In part two, Scottie Pippen and his increasing issues with GM Jerry Krause stole the show. The film crew was able to document a crucial point in Pippen's career and the struggle for the balance of power between management and players.
Below are the takeaways from part two of an incredible and captivating documentary that highlights what it took for former Tar Heel, Michael Jordan, to have a dependable teammate in Scottie Pippen, fighting for his father's attention and playing to win.
Part 2, 'The Last Dance' 10 pm:
- "Jerry Krause made everything murky when he said 'This was Phil's last year'" -Scottie Pippen
- "I will never find another partner like Scottie Pippen" -Jordan
- "Whenever they speak Michael Jordan, they should speak Scottie Pippen" -Jordan
- "I didn't win without him, thats why I considered him (Pippen) my best teammate of all time."- Jordan.
- "I grew up with two people in a wheelchair. Basketball was my escape." -Pippen
- Scottie Pippen's story sounds incredible. Growing up with 11 siblings and he got to play basketball after a scholarship freed up. He was originally the team manager at UCA.
- Scottie Pippen made his Bulls Debut, Nov. 7, 1987.
- Pippen got slapped by Charles Oakley lol
- Pippen was the 122nd highest paid player.... WOW. He signed the deal in 1991 for 7 years! They took advantage of him. It was a seven year $18 million contract that no one in management wanted to renegotiate.
- Seems like he took the deal out of fear of not being able to take care of his family.
- "Scottie was trying to force management to change his contract but Jerry wasn't going to do that. Now I got to play without him and find a way to win" -Jordan
- Without Pippen in the beginning of the season, you saw how important he was to the team and the contributions he provided.
- Pippen should've been paid!
- "Scottie was out. My voice had to be the loudest" -Jordan
- "He's not worried about hurting your feelings. He didnt care, he'll tell you to get out" -Bill Wellington
- "Everyday that Scottie didn't play, that gave teams the confidence they could beat us" -Jordan.
- "Every time I step on that basketball court, my goal is to win the game. It drives me insane when I can't" -Jordan
- "They (Jordan's parents) wanted us to play organize sports so we can learn about life" -Jordan
- "I don't think I would be here without my brother (Larry). I always felt like I was fighting Larry for my father's attention." -Jordan
- "My determination got even better to be good if not greater than my brother." -Jordan
- "If you want to bring out the best in Michael, tell him he cant do it" -Jordan's father, James Jordan
- "When he got here we thought he was pretty good, when he left here 5 days later, we thought he was the best player in America" -Roy Williams on having Jordan at UNC camp when he (Jordan) was in high school.
- Jordan went back to Chapel Hill to rehab after injuring his foot during the 1985-86 season.
- Jordan was not about to sit out the season for 10% chance. The Bulls reached a compromise to allow him to play 7mins per half.
- April 3, 1986... went ballistic for 14 mins in a much needed game to make the playoffs. 107-108 Pacers... 31 seconds in the 4th and Jordan's time is up. Jordan was begging Stan to put him in the game. Paxson hits the game winning shot.
- "Play to win"... Jordan felt management violated the most important rule in sports.
- That MJ fadeaway is crazy.
- "That wasn't Michael Jordan. that was God disguised as Michael Jordan" -Larry Bird on Jordan in 1986 during the first round of the NBA playoffs, Celtics vs Bulls.
- "Jordan is the most talented player in the NBA by far." -Magic Johnson
- Scottie demanding a trade because of the tension with GM Jerry Krause. Pippen and Krause were arguing to the point it made the team uncomfortable.
- Pippen realized if Krause wasn't going to pay him... he would force a trade. Jordan felt it was selfish.
You have to give Pippen his flowers. Pippen's contribution to the Bulls is, at times, were gravely underestimated. He was their number two guy in every leading category except steals and assist where he placed first. The driving force in Pippen's story line was a poor deal he took in 1991 that resulted in him being the 122nd highest paid player in the NBA. Jordan's number two man was being paid like a rookie for seven years. Something he didn't stress and retaliate until 1997.
Pippen represents an untold story of kids who grow up with a poverty mindset and take the first thing they're given in fear of not receiving anything better. Growing up in a 14 person household, had to be taxing on a kid who had no idea how he was going to go pro but knowing he had the gift to do so. The responsibility he felt is one that many children of color feel, the family comes first. It's an eye-opener to people unfamiliar with the narrative of "Going to the league isn't just about me. I have people to take care of". Playing basketball is more than winning championships; it's making sure your mother no longer has to struggle.
Pippen is a living example of why kids need to be paid in collegiate sports.
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