NBA legend, Michael Jordan has been accused of ‘ruining’ basketball by his former Chicago Bulls team-mate Scottie Pippen.
After the release of Jordan’s hugely successful ‘The Last Dance’ documentary on Netflix, both NBA legends became estranged.
Pippen has been accused of feeling disgruntled about the way he was portrayed in the series, and has not held back since when taking aim at all-time great Jordan.
In his new memoir, Unguarded, hitting the shelves, Pippen took several attacks at Jordan which “savages” the superstar’s reputation.
The excerpt read: ‘I may go as far to say Mike ruined basketball.
‘In the 80s on the playgrounds, you’d have everyone moving the ball around – passing to help the team. That stopped in the 90s.
‘Kids wanted to be “Like Mike.” Well, Mike didn’t want to pass – didn’t want to rebound, or defend the best player. He wanted everything done for him.
‘That’s why I always believed LeBron James was the greatest player this game has ever seen – he does everything and embodies what the game is truly about.’
During ‘The Last Dance’, Jordan referred to Pippen as ‘his best team-mate of all time’. Despite the tag seemingly being good-natured, the latter has taken exception to it.
‘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 wrote.
‘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.’
His withering opinion of Jordan has seen Pippen also turn his attention away from him in the debate over who is the greatest basketball player of all time.
‘Michael was determined to prove to the current generation of fans that he was larger-than-life during his day – and still larger than LeBron James, the player many consider his equal, if not superior,’ Pippen said, via GQ.
‘They glorified Michael Jordan while not giving nearly enough praise to me and my proud teammates.
‘Even in the second episode, which focused for a while on my difficult upbringing and unlikely path to the NBA, the narrative returned to MJ and his determination to win.
‘I was nothing more than a prop. His “best teammate of all time,” he called me. He couldn’t have been more condescending if he tried.’
Charles Barkley, the 11-time NBA all-star, believes that Pippen’s recent digs at Jordan are simply an attempt to sell copies of his autobiography.
‘Scottie’s just trying to sell books,’ Barkley said on The Dan Patrick Show.
‘I don’t think he’s worried about relationships down the line, friendships down the line. I think he’s just trying to sell books.’