Scottie Pippen opens up about Michael Jordan relationship in new book 'Unguarded'

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Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Scottie Pippen opens up on relationship with Michael Jordan
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Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen speaks on his relationship with Michael Jordan in an interview on his new book "Unguarded."

CHICAGO -- NBA legend Scottie Pippen is opening up in his new memoir "Unguarded" on his relationship with Michael Jordan and Jordan's docu-series "The Last Dance" and its take on the 1990s Chicago Bulls dynasty.

He's as legendary as they come. Six NBA championships, six-time NBA All-Star, two-time Olympic gold medalist, hall of famer.

Now in his new memoir, "Unguarded," Pippen is sharing intimate details about his road to superstardom, including what he really thought about "The Last Dance."

The former Bulls star sat down the GMA's Michael Strahan to talk about the new book. Pippen said when he agreed to be filmed, he wasn't aware it would focus so heavily on Michael Jordan.

I thought it was a great documentary," Pippen said. "I felt like the documentary only told a story that sorta glorified him as a player and not glorified us as a team."

When asked about calling Michael Jordan "selfish," Pippen said. "I mean, he was a great scorer, but a lotta things that he did, was based on, him as individual. And I think basketball is a team game."

When asked about his relationship off the court with Jordan, Pippen said. "It wasn't what you saw on the court....we always will have that respect for each other. But our friendship is not where people see it on TV think it is."

Pippen said "The Last Dance" was a chance for Jordan to tell his story, but his new book is a chance for Pippen to tell his. It's a story that began learning the game on a dirt court in Hamburg, Arkansas, a rim attached to an old light pole.

"I was learning. I was-- I was growing-- you know," Pippen said. "That was the fun part of because there wasn't any expectations or pressure."

The youngest of 12 children, as a kid his older brother Ronnie was paralyzed from the neck down by a school bully. Later, his father would suffer a stroke, leaving him disabled.

"It gave me a lot of responsibilities, at a young age, you know, to help take care of them and to be there for my mom," Pippen said. "I grew up fast."

The book also detailed a dark moment in his relationship with then Bulls head coach, Phil Jackson. When Jackson made Pippen inbound the ball instead of taking the winning shot in a 1994 playoff bid. Instead, the winning shot would go to Tony kukoc.

"I felt like that I had earned my right to take that last shot," Pippen said. "And I felt like he disrespected me at that moment."

Asked how he feels about it now, Pippen said," When you're a player and you're in the heat of the moment / those things go through your-- through your mind. But now that it's over-- you know, I've had a lot more great times with Phil than I did bad times. And that's why I say that.

Pippen's career in the NBA would last 17 seasons, and he'd be named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. He retired in 2004. A year later, the bulls retired his jersey.