Scottie Pippen Upset At Michael Jordan For Not Including His Trash Talk To Karl Malone In Game 1 Of ’97 Finals In ‘The Last Dance’

Scottie Pippen is upset at Michael Jordan for not including his trash talk to Karl Malone during Game 1 of the 1997 NBA Finals between the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz in ESPN’s “The Last Dance” docuseries. 

NBA, Bulls, Jazz, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone

The Bulls beat the Jazz in Game 1 of the 1997 NBA Finals by a final score of 84-82. Jordan hit a game-winning buzzer-beater over Bryon Russell. That shot was covered in “The Last Dance.”

However, what wasn’t covered was what Pippen said to Malone with the game tied at 82.

“With 9.2 seconds to go, the score tied at 82, their star power forward, Karl Malone, aka the Mailman, was awarded two free throws. While Karl was on the line, I told him, ‘The mailman doesn’t deliver on Sunday.’ Karl, a 76 percent free throw shooter, missed both attempts,” Pippen wrote in his book, Unguarded.

“On the next possession, Michael hit a jump shot at the buzzer to win the game. We went on to beat the Jazz in six for our fifth championship. What I said to Karl should have been in the documentary. You can bet that if MJ had uttered those words, the moment would have received the full treatment, the point being: Michael Jordan wasn’t just a great basketball player. He was a master at gamesmanship.”

Jordan averaged 32.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists in the 1997 NBA Finals. He won his fifth Finals MVP.

Meanwhile, Pippen put up 20.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He led the Bulls in steals with 10 and his final steal sealed Chicago’s fifth championship.

However, Pippen’s steal in Game 6 wasn’t covered in “The Last Dance.” Instead, the docuseries focused on Jordan’s game-winning assist to Steve Kerr.

The media praised Jordan for passing the ball to Kerr in the final seconds of Game 6. Pippen wrote in his book that there was nothing heroic about what Jordan did. 

“In Game 6 of the same series, I deflected an inbounds pass in the closing seconds when the Jazz had a chance to tie the game or take the lead,” Pippen wrote. “The steal was in the doc. Only no emphasis was given to who actually made it. The focus was on how unselfish Michael was by throwing the ball to Steve Kerr, who hit the winning jumper, just as Michael kept passing it to Paxson down the stretch in Game 5 of the 1991 Finals against the Lakers, when we captured our first championship. There was nothing heroic about what Michael did. Finding the open man was what Phil and Tex drilled into us from day one.”

Jordan and Pippen are no longer on speaking terms. Jordan had editorial control over “The Last Dance,” which is why Pippen is furious.

In his book, Pippen wrote that the documentary covered things that shouldn’t have been covered and left out things that should have been discussed.

“There is a great deal in the ESPN documentary that has no business being in there,” Pippen wrote. “And a great deal that should be in has been left out. Bottom line: the doc fails to give my Hall of Fame career the treatment it deserves. Coming from someone who was my teammate and, supposedly, my friend, there is no excuse. It was almost as if Michael felt the need to put me down to lift himself up.”

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