Michael Jordan (L) and Scottie Pippen (R) of the Chicago Bulls talk during the final minutes of their game 22 May
Source: Getty Images

From Friends to Rivals? A Look at Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s Friendship Timeline

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen's friendship has been through the wringer. The Chicago Bulls legends have had a complicated relationship.

By

Mar. 12 2024, Published 5:49 p.m. ET

Some Chicago Bulls fans would argue that the team’s run from the late 1980s to 1998 was the most exciting period in the city’s history. During this time, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen dominated the NBA. However, at the start of their careers, Michael and Scottie played for opposing teams.

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Scottie was drafted to the NBA in 1987 after a successful run as a player at the University of Central Arkansas. He was the fifth overall pick in the draft and was signed by the Seattle SuperSonics. The athlete was later traded to the Chicago Bulls, which would become one of the greatest basketball teams of all time.

Meanwhile, Jordan was already an established member of the Bulls – having been drafted to the team three years earlier.

While the team went on to become a domineering force in the league, the relationship between Michael and Scottie turned sour. The rift between the two basketball stars has never subsided. Here’s a breakdown of their dispute.

1987 — Scottie Pippen joins the Chicago Bulls.

scottie pippen and chicago bulls  michael jordan courtside during chicago bulls vs new york knic
Source: Getty Images

Scottie Pippen and Chicago Bulls # 23 Michael Jordan courtside during Chicago Bulls vs New York Knicks.

Scottie joined the Chicago Bulls in 1987 and the team quickly turned into one of the most powerful groups in the NBA. When Scottie first joined the Bulls, he had a friendly relationship with Michael Jordan.

“We grew up together and we defended each other,” Scottie told The Guardian in 2020. “That respect we had on the court, that competitiveness we took through to the top — it was special.”

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1991 – Scottie and Michael lead the Bulls to three championships.

michael jordan c scottie pippen r and ron harper l get together before a meeting of the nati
Source: Getty Images

Michael Jordan (C), Scottie Pippen (R), and Ron Harper (L) get together before a meeting of the National Basketball Association Player's Association.

The Bulls were unstoppable in the early 1990s. The team, led by Michael and Scottie, won three NBA championships between 1991 and 1993. Months after their final victory, Michael announced that he was leaving the NBA. “When I lose the sense of motivation and the sense of to prove something as a basketball player, it's time for me to move away,” Michael said.

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1994 — Michael Jordan blasts Scottie Pippen in an interview with the New York Post.

michael jordanchicago bulls
Source: Getty Images

Michael JORDAN/CHICAGO BULLS

Amid his retirement, which ended as quickly as it started, Michael Jordan slammed his former Bulls teammates. In a 1994 interview with the New York Post, the Chicago Bulls star suggested that he carried the entire team and often picked up the slack from Scottie and other players.

“I covered their a---s when they got tight at the end of games, and I had to overcome fourth-quarter deficits all by myself,” Michael said (via Basketball Network). He added, “To hear them b---hing about not getting enough credit.”

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2009 – Jordan thanks Pippen, ending their feud.

scottie pippen and michael jordan attend the surprise birthday celebration for scottie pippen
Source: Getty Images

Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan attend the surprise birthday celebration for Scottie Pippen

When Michael Jordan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, he took time during his speech to thank his former teammate. “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,” Michael said. Michael returned the favor during Scottie’s induction in 2010 – seemingly marking the end of their feud.

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2010 – ‘The Last Dance’ documentary reignites the feud.

Things between Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen remained peaceful throughout the 2010s. However, their relationship went left after the release of the 2020 documentary The Last Dance. Scottie slammed Jordan for the 10-part series, which made him feel like a prop. “I was nothing more than a prop,” Scottie told GQ, adding, “Each episode was the same: Michael on a pedestal, his teammates secondary, smaller.”

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2022 – Marcus Jordan starts dating Scottie’s ex-wife.

larsa pippen and marcus jordan are seen on february
Source: Getty Images

Larsa Pippen and Marcus Jordan are seen on February 14, 2024

Scottie continued speaking out against Michael and The Last Dance, furthering the rift between the two. Things were exacerbated in September 2022 when Scottie’s ex-wife, Larsa Pippen, was spotted on a date with Michael’s son, Marcus.

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