This past Sunday the along waited documentary series on Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Bulls finally premiered on ESPN and there were many intriguing things said in just the first two episodes.
The documentary for the most part revolves around Jordan himself but in the first two episodes there were two names that received even more buzz; former teammate Scottie Pippen and former Bulls GM Jerry Krause.
The first episode covered a lot about Jerry Krause and all of the questionable moves he made while he was the general manager for the Bulls. It was revealed early on how Jerry Krause before the 1997-1998 season began wanted to basically blow up one the of the greatest dynasties in NBA history.
All of this because his main idea was he wanted to rebuild. Very odd considering the team he had at the time with Jordan, Pippen, and Dennis Rodman. Krause wanted to prove to people that its not just individual players like Pippen and Jordan who win championships, its organizations that get it done.
One of the most surprising parts of this episode was when it was said that Jerry Krause told coach Phil Jackson that this would be his last season as the coach of the Chicago Bulls. This was very shocking considering how appreciated Jackson is as a coach historically but this just goes to show how Krause just let everything go to his head in the end.
Steve Kerr said it best in the documentary, “He set himself up as the villain.” All things considered, Krause did make some remarkable moves in his time as general manager like for instance, he drafted Scottie Pippen and power forward Horace Grant in the same year. These types of moves do not make up for the fact though that he essentially tried to destroy the bulls in the 97-98 season.
In the second episode of the the ten part documentary series, they made it heavily about Michael Jordan’s iconic partner during their run in Chicago, Scottie Pippen.
Pippen entered college at a mere 6’1 and in a couple years grew to 6’8 and was dominating the college competition rising his NBA draft stock. He was drafted in 1987 and by 1991 he was in line so sign a pretty big contract but instead signed a seven year 18 million dollar contract which made him severely underpaid for how good he was.
Scottie said he wanted to support his family when he signed that contract. This contract would last the entire tenure of his run with Jordan and the Bulls before eventually moving on to Portland.
By the 1997-1998 season, Pippen was the 122nd ranked player in pay when he was arguably a top ten player at the time in the league. Such disrespect shown by Krause to Pippen in how he handled his career and that is ultimately what lead to Pippen hating his own general manger.
Once that 97-98 season came around it was clear that Scottie despised Krause and wanted out of Chicago. Shockingly, Pippen came out and said he delayed his foot surgery prior to that season because he did not want to ruin his time off.
“I’m not going to f*** my summer up to rehab for a season.” said Pippen to the camera crew when talking about the foot surgery. In addition, contract issues played a factor as well between Krause and Pippen and it was pretty clear that those two were not coming to an agreement. Jordan to the camera crew said that Scottie’s move was “selfish”.
Maybe it was but at the end of the day he felt that the organization did not want him there so he wanted to move on. He eventually requested a trade in that season while he was still rehabbing.
There were many revelations in just the first two episodes of, “The Last Dance”, and it seems there is much more to come our way as sports fans that will have us on the edge our seats wanting more.
The preview for the upcoming two episodes showed that one of them will revolve around Jordan’s rivalry with the Bad Boy Pistons and the other seems like it will focus on Dennis Rodman and his antics while playing with Michael.
This documentary is just what sports fans needed in a time like this and we cannot thank ESPN enough for releasing this much earlier than anticipated. Hopefully during this crisis ESPN and other sports networks can continue to do things like this.
Photo Credit: Clutchpoints