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Some of Michael Jordan's ex-teammates are criticizing the legitimacy of "The Last Dance" — ESPN's 10-part documentary series about Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Horace Grant said "The Last Dance" was "B.S. in terms of the realness of it," while Bill Cartwright, Craig Hodges, and Ron Harper hinted that the series may not have painted a complete picture of the situation.
Even Scottie Pippen is reportedly "wounded and disappointed" by his portrayal in "The Last Dance," according to ESPN's Jackie MacMullan.
"The Last Dance" — the 10-part documentary series about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls — was a smash hit for ESPN.
But not everyone was a fan of Jason Hehir's look back into His Airness' reign, including many of Jordan's ex-teammates.
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Former Chicago Bulls like big men Horace Grant and Bill Cartwright, guards Craig Hodges and Ron Harper, and even seven-time All-Star Scottie Pippen were discontented with the documentary's portrayal of their team, individual players, and Jordan's purported total command of everyone around him.
Horace Grant lambasted the legitimacy of "so-called documentary"
In an explosive interview with Kap and Co. on ESPN 1000 in Chicago, Grant even went as far as to call the documentary "B.S. in terms of the realness of it."
"I would say [it was] entertaining, but we know, who was there as teammates, that about 90% of it — I don't know if I can say it on air, but B.S. in terms of the realness of it," Grant said, according to an article by ESPN's Nick Friedell. "It wasn't real — because a lot of things [Jordan] said to some of his teammates, that his teammates went back at him. But all of that was kind of edited out of the documentary if you want to call it a documentary."
"That documentary was for MJ, to be honest," Grant said.
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During the documentary, Jordan accused Grant of leaking inside information to Sam Smith for his famous tell-all book, "The Jordan Rules. But the seven-year alum of the Bulls' frontcourt maintained that it "is a downright, outright, completely lie."
"Lie, lie, lie. ... If MJ had a grudge with me, let's settle this like men," Grant said. "Let's talk about it. Or we can settle it another way. But yet and still, he goes out and puts this lie out that I was the source behind [the book]. Sam and I have always been great friends. We're still great friends. But the sanctity of that locker room, I would never put anything personal out there. The mere fact that Sam Smith was an investigative reporter. That he had to have two sources, two, to write a book, I guess. Why would MJ just point me out?"
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"It's only a grudge, man," he added. "I'm telling you, it was only a grudge. And I think he proved that during this so-called documentary. When if you say something about him, he's going to cut you off, he's going to try to destroy your character."
Grant was far from the only former Bull who took issue with the series
In BetOnline.ag's roundtable called "The Final Dance," Cartwright, Hodges, and Harper joined Grant in pushing back on the idea that Jordan had free rein in Chicago.
"MJ knew who he can talk to and knew who he had to push. He was one of those guys who made you work harder because you see how he works," Harper said. "You ain't gonna talk crazy to me and don't think I'm going to talk crazy to you. He would talk to Scott Burrell and Scott wasn't man enough to stand up for who he was. You ain't doing that s--- with me."
"I felt that it could've been more about what the team did and what the players done. But you know I understand they gave the copyrights to MJ. So it was more like 'Come Fly With Me, Part 2.' But it was good," he added.
Cartright was a bit less barbed in his repudiation of the documentary's validity, but he expressed similar sentiments to Harper.
"I think that the documentary meant to be something positive," Cartwright said. "That's what I want to be. We saw really three guys — Will Perdue, Steve Kerr, Scott Burrell. Really, that's the only people I've seen. So we'll just leave it with that. I didn't see all that holding people accountable. I saw us, our guys. And these guys here, I promise you these guys are extraordinarily competitive. They're not going to put up with anything. You can tell any story you want. I didn't see it."
"We knew it was going to be really one guy's perspective of what happened," he added. "I think everybody here would have their own perspective."
Even Scottie Pippen is upset with his portrayal in "The Last Dance"
In an article published earlier this month, ESPN's Jackie MacMullan noted that while Jordan was incredibly complimentary of Pippen and his contributions to Chicago's dynasty during the series, the eight-time NBA All-Defensive first-teamer has been remarkably quiet since the documentary first aired in April. He has yet to go on the record about the documentary in any capacity.
MacMullan said that those closest to Pippen believe "he's wounded and disappointed by his portrayal" in "The Last Dance," so much so that Dennis Rodman felt compelled to defend him.
"Scottie was so underrated — and so underpaid," Rodman told MacMullan. "He should be holding his head up higher than Michael Jordan in this documentary."
"I think a lot of people are now realizing what he went through," he added. "The kid was a hero, in a lot of ways, during those great Bulls runs."
The series harped on Pippen's least-flattering moments as a Bull, namely his self-benching with 1.8 seconds remaining in the 1994 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Knicks, the nagging back injury that brought him in and out of Chicago's decisive Game 6 against the Utah Jazz in 1998, and the migraine that kept him sidelined for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against their rival Detroit Pistons.
"We could all tell in those early years Michael didn't totally trust Scottie," Rodman says. "In that Game 7 [in 1990], Scottie has a migraine, and he's seeing double, and his vision is blurry, and his head is pounding, and they're coming out of the locker room, and Michael is asking him, 'Are you ready?' And Scottie can't go. And Michael is so pissed at him. It will always be a sour note for him."
Rodman — who was a far more controversial figure than any of his Bulls teammates — is seemingly unperturbed by anything said about him. But he knows injustice when he sees it, and hints that he feels Pippen was not given his due in "The Last Dance."
"It's hard for Scottie when people say negative things," Rodman told MacMullan. "He doesn't like it. I keep telling him, 'You have nothing to apologize for. You were one of the best.' I hope people can finally see that."
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