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Scottie Pippen says Bulls won titles 'in spite of' Michael Jordan berating teammates

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Everyone who watched "The Last Dance" knows Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan was hard on his teammates. Jordan was known for his unmatched intensity and competitive drive, but sometimes he took those traits too far.

Jordan was extremely tough on some teammates, to the point of berating and bullying them during practices. Because the Bulls were successful, some credit Jordan for pushing those teammates to another level on the court.

Scottie Pippen doesn't see it that way. In his new book, Pippen says the Bulls won titles "in spite of" Jordan belittling teammates, according to Brad Botkin of CBSSports.

"In the doc, Michael attempted to justify the occasions in which he berated a teammate in front of the group. He felt these guys needed to develop the toughness to get past the NBA's more physical teams. Seeing again how poorly Michael treated his teammates, I cringed, as I did back then.

"Michael was wrong. We didn't win six championships because he got on guys. We won in spite of his getting on guys. We won because we played team basketball, which hadn't been the case my first two seasons, when Doug Collins was our coach. That's what was special about playing for the Bulls: the camaraderie we established with one another, not that we felt blessed to be on the same team with the immortal Michael Jordan."

Pippen credits the team's willingness to play "team basketball" as the reason the Bulls won so many titles. That probably played a role, though it didn't hurt that the Bulls had three of the top 75 players in NBA history for three of those championships. 

Scottie Pippen continues tirade against Michael Jordan

Pippen's comments shouldn't come as a surprise. Since "The Last Dance," Pippen lobbed a lot of accusations at Jordan and the Bulls. Pippen called out Jordan for "The Last Dance" being all about him. Pippen also questioned whether Jordan's "flu game" was that special.

Those accusations continue in Pippen's book, titled "Unguarded," in which Pippen calls himself a better teammate than Jordan, per CBSSports.

"I was a much better teammate than Michael ever was. Ask anyone who played with the two of us. I was always there with a pat on the back or an encouraging word, especially after he put someone down for one reason or another. I helped the others to believe in and stop doubting themselves."

All of those critiques take place in the prologue, meaning there's roughly 300 more pages in the book where Pippen can take swipes at Jordan. 

Michael Jordan sits with Scottie Pippen and Toni Kukoč on Bulls bench.
Scottie Pippen continues to criticize Michael Jordan. (Photo by VINCENT LAFORET / AFP)