Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen's Friendship to Feud Timeline (2024)

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen's Friendship to Feud Timeline (1)

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were once a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court — but their friendship has seemingly turned sour.

The pair’s friendship traces all the way back to the 1980s when they were both drafted into the NBA; Jordan joined the Chicago Bulls, and Pippen initially went to the Seattle SuperSonics. After Pippen was traded to the Bulls, the pair played side-by-side and were an integral part of the team’s success in the ’90s, when the Bulls won a total of six league championships.

Even after the former teammates had retired from the sport, the athletes still appeared to share a strong bond. They were by each other’s sides when they were inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and praised one another whenever given the opportunity. But that all changed with the release of ESPN’s docuseries, The Last Dance, in 2020.

The 10-part series was co-produced by Jordan’s production company and chronicled the Bulls' 1997-1998 season, during which the team rounded out their second championship three-peat. While the show documented their success, it focused heavily on Jordan’s personal story — much to the disappointment of Pippen.

Although Pippen initially said that there was no bad blood between the duo, he later revealed in his memoir, Unguarded, that the documentary had “glorified” Jordan and didn't give "nearly enough praise to me and my proud teammates."

“I just felt like that he had rights to really control something that I felt like should have been more historically about the Chicago Bulls, more about that team, and the history of that team. Especially, the last three seasons. And I just didn't think it went in that direction,” Pippen later told PEOPLE.

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While Pippen revealed Jordan privately reached out to mend things, the former NBA player has continued to publicly condemn his teammate for his actions — on and off the court.

Since 2022, Jordan’s son Marcus Jordan has also been dating Pippen’s ex-wife Larsa Pippen. Though Pippen hasn't spoken about his ex-wife's new beau, Jordan made headlines in July 2023 when he told TMZ that he disapproved of his son's relationship.

Here’s everything to know about Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s friendship.

Late 1980s: Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen meet while playing in the NBA

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When Pippen was drafted into the NBA in 1987, Jordan had already been playing professionally for a few years. The pair’s friendship began when Pippen joined the Chicago Bulls during his first year in the league. Looking back, Pippen says it was during that time the pair established a close bond — and it felt that no one could beat them when they were on their game.

“Yeah, that relationship, we established that we felt like that in the late 80s, playing against the Pistons, just starting to grow and mature and have each other’s backs. We grew up together and we defended each other,” Pippen told The Guardian. “That respect we had on the court, that competitiveness we took through to the top — it was special. That was the respect we had for each other, because we had to be on the court to do what we did. We had to be dominant."

1990s: Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen win six championships with the Chicago Bulls

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Throughout Jordan's and Pippen’s careers playing with the Bulls, the team made NBA history, winning a total of six league championships. They took home the championship title three times in a row on two separate occasions. Their first three-peat came between the 1991 to 1993 seasons, and they did it again between 1996 and 1998.

1999: Scottie Pippen says he misses playing with Michael Jordan

Following Pippen and Jordan’s second three-peat, Jordan retired from the game, and Pippen went on to play with the Portland Trail Blazers. Looking back at his career with Jordan, Pippen admitted that he missed playing with his former teammate.

“I miss playing with him. I miss our body language out on the court, things we developed together. I miss that we had one another, that intimidation factor that we'd bring to the game. I miss winning,” Pippen told Sports Illustrated in 1999.

2009: Michael Jordan thanks Scottie Pippen while being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame

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Jordan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. In the opening lines of his acceptance speech, Jordan gave a shout-out to Pippen, sharing that it was he who was by his side every championship he won.

“I told all my friends I was gonna come up here and say thank you and walk off. I can't. There's no way. I got so many people I can thank. In all the videos, you never just saw me. You saw Scottie Pippen. Every championship I won,” Jordan said on stage.

2010: Michael Jordan inducts Scottie Pippen into the Basketball Hall of Fame

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The following year, Jordan helped welcome Pippen into the Basketball Hall of Fame. During Pippen's speech, he acknowledged Jordan and thanked him for being the “best teammate” through the years.

“MJ, you have touched so many people’s lives, but none life like mine. Thank you for being the best teammate. I will always cherish that experience and I will cherish our relationship forever,” Pippen shared while giving his speech.

December 2017: Scottie Pippen commends Michael Jordan while comparing him to LeBron James

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In the ongoing debate about who is the greatest basketball player of all time between Jordan and LeBron James, Pippen made it known he was team Jordan. While he did admit that James was statistically very close to Jordan, he said he would pick his friend Jordan any day.

“I would never diss Michael Jordan,” Pippen said during an ESPN appearance. “I will always pick [Jordan] over LeBron.”

April 2020: The Last Dance premieres on Netflix

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In April 2020, The Last Dance premiered — a docuseries chronicling the Bulls' historic 1997-1998 season, during which the team won its sixth championship in eight seasons. The team went into the season knowing a breakup was on the horizon, as coach Phil Jackson would not be returning the next year.

“It was a trying year. We were trying to enjoy that year knowing that it was coming to an end,” Jordan said in an interview with Good Morning America. “Knowing that I had married myself to him so if he wasn’t going to be the coach, then I wasn’t going to play. He started out the year saying, ‘This is the last dance,’ and we played it that way ... As sad as it sounded at the beginning of the year, we tried to rejoice and finish it off the right way.”

The 10-part series was co-produced by Jordan’s own production company, Jump 23, and was crafted using over 500 hours of previously unreleased footage. According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Jordan had only allowed the season to be filmed under the condition that it would only be released with his permission. Following the season’s conclusion over two decades ago, the physical film was kept in the team’s library and was unable to be touched.

April 2020: Michael Jordan admits The Last Dance might make him look like a "horrible guy"

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Amid the release of The Last Dance, Jordan acknowledged that the docuseries might not paint him in the best light. Jordan, who was known for his intensity and trash-talking on the court, said that some viewers might find him too intense.

“When people see this footage I’m not sure they’re going to be able to understand why I was so intense, why I did the things I did, why I acted the way I acted, and why I said the things I said,” Jordan told The Athletic.

Jordan also referenced his treatment of his teammate Scott Burrell, who had joined the Bulls in the offseason when Pippen was sidelined due to injury.

“When you see the footage of [me riding with Scott Burrell], you’re going to think that I’m a horrible guy,” he said. “But you have to realize that the reason why I was treating him like that is because I needed him to be tough in the playoffs and we’re facing the Indiana’s and Miami’s and New York’s in the Eastern Conference.”

He continued, “He needed to be tough and I needed to know that I could count on him. And those are the kind of things where people see me acting the way I acted in practice, they’re not going to understand it.”

May 2020: Michael Jordan reaches out to Scottie Pippen about The Last Dance

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Following the release of The Last Dance, rumors surfaced that Pippen was not pleased with the docuseries or how he was portrayed. According to an excerpt from Pippen's memoir Unguarded, published by GQ, Pippen claimed that Jordan reached out to his former teammate via text and said, “What’s up dude? I’m getting word that you’re upset with me. Love to talk about it if you have time.”

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Though Pippen said he believed Jordan reached out just to make sure he “wouldn’t cause any trouble," Pippen did share his thoughts about the series with Jordan.

“I told him I wasn’t too pleased with it. He accepted it. He said, ‘Hey, you’re right.’ That was pretty much it,” Pippen told The Guardian.

July 2020: Scottie Pippen says there are no hard feelings about things said in The Last Dance

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Although Pippen was privately struggling with what he saw in The Last Dance, he publicly shared that he was unbothered by the series. In one scene in particular, Jordan said that Pippen’s decision to delay ankle surgery until after the season began was “selfish” — but Pippen affirmed that there was no bad blood between the former teammates.

“Why would I be offended by anything that happened 30 years ago?” Pippen said in an interview with the Associated Press. “I wasn't upset about it. It didn't bother me at all.”

December 2020: Scottie Pippen says he believes The Last Dance wasn’t accurate

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Although Pippen had previously brushed off any issues with The Last Dance, in December 2020, he publicly admitted that he felt the series was not accurate. While looking back, Pippen told The Guardian that he believed the documentary focused too much on Jordan and not enough on the team.

“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,” he explained.

“I didn't think those things stood out in the documentary,” he continued. “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."

November 2021: Scottie Pippen says his friendship with Michael Jordan wasn’t what it seemed on television

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Ahead of the release of his memoir, Unguarded, Pippen admitted that his friendship with Jordan had not been the way people saw on television. During an appearance on Good Morning America, Pippen explained that the pair were not best friends as everyone thought.

“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 revealed.

November 9, 2021: Scottie Pippen criticizes Michael Jordan and The Last Dance in his Unguarded memoir

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Pippen’s personal truth came to light upon the release of his memoir, Unguarded, in which he slammed both Jordan and The Last Dance. Not only did Pippen write that he had never been “close” to Jordan, but he also shared that he believed Jordan used the docuseries to “glorify” himself while not giving enough acknowledgment to his teammates.

“Each episode was the same: Michael on a pedestal, his teammates secondary, smaller, the message no different from when he referred to us back then as his ‘supporting cast,’ ” Pippen wrote. “They glorified Michael Jordan while not giving nearly enough praise to me and my proud teammates.

Pippen went on to say that even in the episode that focused on his personal journey, he felt that Jordan had used him as “nothing more than a prop.” Despite Jordan calling Pippen his “best teammate of all time” in the docuseries, Pippen wrote that Jordan “couldn't have been more condescending if he tried.”

He also claimed that he and his teammates had received no compensation for their participation in the documentary while claiming that Jordan had brought in $10 million.

“To make things worse, Michael received $10 million for his role in the doc while my teammates and I didn’t earn a dime, another reminder of the pecking order from the old days. For an entire season, we allowed cameras into the sanctity of our locker rooms, our practices, our hotels, our huddles ... our lives,” Pippen wrote.

In the memoir, Pippen did mention that he received one apology from Jordan about a scene he included from Game 3 of the Bulls’ playoff series against the New York Knicks. During the game, Pippen did not play in the last 1.8 seconds after the final shot in the tie game was given to his teammate Toni Kukoc.

“I asked why he had allowed the 1.8 seconds game to make the final cut,” Pippen wrote. “He didn’t say much other than to apologize and acknowledge that if it were him, he, too, would be upset. I didn’t press any further. I knew it would do no good.”

September 2022: Michael Jordan’s son Marcus begins dating Scottie Pippen’s ex-wife Larsa Pippen

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In September 2022, rumors surfaced that Jordan’s son Marcus Jordan was dating Pippen’s ex-wife Larsa Pippen when the pair were spotted having lunch together in Miami. Although Larsa initially claimed she was “just friends” with Marcus, a few months later, sources confirmed that the pair were officially dating.

Since then, Larsa has been asked about her ex-husband’s response to her new beau but has shared that they don’t talk about their dating life.

"I feel like I don't ask my ex who he dates, if he doesn't really ask me who I [date]," she told PEOPLE. “I feel like we co-parent, our conversations are only about our children. And so that's kind of how it goes."

She added: “I hope he finds happiness and I'm happy and I wouldn't care who he dates. If he was happy, he could literally date anybody on the planet. I would be more than happy to be nice for that person."

May 2023: Scottie Pippen says Michael Jordan was a “horrible” basketball player

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Over a year after the release of Unguarded, Pippen revealed that he was still not on good terms with Jordan. During an appearance on Stacey King's Gimme the Hot Sauce podcast, Pippen shared his thoughts on Jordan’s basketball talent, admitting he didn’t believe Jordan was a team player.

“I’ve seen Michael Jordan play before I came to the Bulls. You guys have seen him play. He was a horrible player. He was horrible to play with. It was all 1-on-1, shooting bad shots,” Pippen said. “All of a sudden, we become a team, and we start winning. Everybody forgot who he was. He was a player who was really not at the top of his category. It was scoring."

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Later in the podcast, Pippen also shared that he had no plans of making amends with Jordan or their former coach Jackson.

“No ... You’ve been around Michael, you’ve been around Phil. Their egos are huge. I don’t bow down to people like that,” Pippen said.

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen's Friendship to Feud Timeline (2024)


Who was Michael Jordan's best friend growing up? ›

He happened to meet one of his closest childhood friends, Bridgers, during that time. He was the son of a taxi driver from South Dakota and had moved to Wilmington. Unfortunately, Bridgers' parents got divorced. As a result, he spent most of his childhood and high school days with the Jordans.

How many years did Jordan and Pippen play together? ›

Jordan and Pippen spent 10 seasons together as teammates between 1987 and 1998. They won six titles and six division titles during that span.

What is Michael Jordan's timeline? ›

Michael Jordan
Personal information
CollegeNorth Carolina (1981–1984)
NBA draft1984: 1st round, 3rd overall pick
Selected by the Chicago Bulls
Playing career1984–1993, 1995–1998, 2001–2003
27 more rows

Does Michael Jordan have kids? ›

On top of being as savvy as a businessman, as he was a basketball player, Michael is a father to five kids: Jeffrey, 34, Marcus, 32, Jasmine, 30, and 9-year-old twins Victoria and Ysabel.

Who was Michael Jordan's biggest enemy? ›

1. Isiah Thomas. It's been said that the word "rivalry" can't be invoked until both sides have tasted victory, and therefore pose a real, proven threat to the other. In that way, Isiah Thomas was the only true personal rival Michael Jordan had during his career.

Are Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan still good friends? ›

However, over the years, their friendship has taken a sharp turn, leaving fans wondering what caused the fracture between these basketball icons. The story of Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan is a tale of basketball greatness and a friendship that has deteriorated over time.

How far did Jordan go without Pippen? ›

"Michael Jordan's record without Scottie Pippen: 154-170 in regular season and 1-9 in the playoffs. Just saw this stat. I thought everyone was saying that MJ was a winner.

How many times did Jordan win without Pippen? ›

Michael Jordan won 3 championships without Scottie Pippen in his career.
Michael Jordan19924.0

Are Rodman and Jordan still friends? ›

Even though Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman had their fair share of conflict during their time in the NBA, the pair grew to love one another--and still do, to this day.

Who was Michael Jordan's childhood friend? ›

At a time when racial prejudice was at its peak in America, Michael Jordan made friends from different ethnicities and communities in high school. This is where MJ formed a close brotherhood with David Bridgers, who was a 'white boy' from South Dakota and had moved to Wilmington (North Carolina).

How did Michael Jordan meet his best friend? ›

In an exclusive interview with Chicago Tribune in 1992, Koehler said Jordan wasn't the face of the NBA yet when they first met. At the time, Koehler was driving for Prestige Limo services in Chicago and was one day tasked to take a young man from North Carolina University to his "first training camp" with the Bulls.

Are David Falk and Michael Jordan still friends? ›

So you go from one extreme to another -- one of creation to having nothing to do with it," Falk said. "He could've had anyone in the world represent him and he had me represent him. He stood by me, he supported me, we're great friends today and I love him."

Who did Michael Jordan live with when he was a kid? ›

His parents, James and Delores Jordan, moved to Wilmington, North Carolina when he was still a toddler. Jordan has two older brothers, one older sister, and one younger sister. Jordan loved to play baseball when he was a child, and also played some basketball and football.

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