Scottie Pippen still has a grudge against that contract. It didn't take up much space in The Last Dance which was what the excerpt in GQ from Pippens autobiography entitled Unguarded emphasized, but it has been the guiding light of most of Pippens life. It is evident in the New York Times article. He was recovering from foot surgery and demanded a trade for the team he had seen in the documentary. That was what eventually led to him being traded to the Rockets. This is how Pippen has seen the world since then.
There was no doubt that the contract was bad. All his advisors and even the man who signed the checks agreed that it was a mistake. However, Pippen was desperate for that money at the moment and it was easy to see and understand why. His family was large and needed his help. You would think that it was all over the past. Pippen made a lot more in Houston and Portland.
However, even though Michael Jordan is still able to get a pass because he has won every aspect of his life (as the doc clearly demonstrated), why should Pippen be denied for feeling left out by the Bulls.
Because Pippen believes he has been. When you add the documentary that Pippen saw and how the Bulls teams portrayed them to the already instilled contract you can see why.
Two things were most noticeable in the documentary that I found to be the most misleading. It felt like the documentary glossed them over to preserve the image of Jordan as God and Savior over the truth.
G/O Media could get a commission Black Friday Deals 2020: What to Expect and What's on Sale Now. Show the supply chain who is boss
Amazon, Target, Best Buy and other retailers offer holiday shopping discounts to help you get ahead. Black Friday Deals Available Early
The Bulls won 55 of their games without him. Their skills as referees-Hue-Hollins masterclasses was evident when they returned to the Eastern Conference Finals. At worst, they would have been slight favorites over the Pacers. After Jordan's brief retirement, the core team of Pippen, Toni Kukoc, and Horace Grant were back to play minor league baseball. Grant was replaced by Dennis Rodman, which was about as good as Grant. After a season of struggle, Jordan's team that managed to make it into the playoffs and then lost Grant, along with some of its frontcourt depth. The team Jordan had left behind after his first retirement was quite good without him.
This is a narrative Jordan and his followers hate. It's the one that has been the most irritating argument in sports. Every time LeBron leaves a team, it ends up in the lotto (with some caveats due to roster changes and circumstances but they're not that bad).
The documentary then skipped the second half, which was the final two Finals games that were played in 1997-98. The Jordan flu game is shown for about 20-30 minutes. It's all part of the lore. Pippen was battling two herniated discs in the back of his spine for Games 5 and 6. It was difficult for us all to watch him moving up and down the court. Jordan doesn't even mention it in The Last Dance, and he just dismisses it as another obstacle that he had to overcome. You've probably known someone with a herniated disk in your life, if not two, then you're likely to know them.
You can see why Pippen may be a bit pissed.
Pippen returned to the Bulls as the excerpt describes, possibly to make things right. He was again screwed by a petty GM. You can be sure that all the original feelings from that contract were brought back.
It would be simple to tell Pippen just how rich he is. He is a Hall-of-Famer with six rings and was named to the 50 Most Important Players in NBA History. Pippen also has generational wealth, including a statue at the United Center that holds my beer more than I can count, after I have returned from a smoke break. Many Bulls fans know how important he was for that dynasty, but not all. We don't live like professional athletes and have to be able to work hard to reach those planes. It seems that Jordan is criticized for much less. This is just MJ.
Pippen could let it all go. He would probably be happier if that happened. However, that does not mean his beef is not legitimate.