Scottie Pippen on Delaying Surgery in 1997: 'I'm Not Gonna F--k My Summer Up'

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIApril 20, 2020

FILE - In this March 13, 2015, file photo, former NBA player Scottie Pippen watches an NCAA college basketball game in Nashville, Tenn. Authorities in rural Arkansas are investigating the theft of more than $50,000 worth of equipment from a farm in Hamburg, Ark., owned by Pippen. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
Steve Helber/Associated Press

The Chicago Bulls dynasty is being re-examined in ESPN's 10-part documentary The Last Dance, which debuted its first two episodes Sunday night.

The premiere saw Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen disagreeing over how the latter decided to handle his October 1997 surgery.

"I had a ruptured tendon in my ankle, and I decided to have surgery late because I was like, 'You know what? I'm not gonna f--k my summer up trying to rehab for a season, you know?'" Pippen said in the documentary. "They're not gonna be looking forward to having me, so I'mma enjoy my summer, and I'll use the season to prepare."

Jordan countered: "Scottie was wrong in that scenario. He could've got his surgery done as soon as the season was over and be ready for the season. What Scottie was trying to do was trying to force management to change his contract, and Jerry [Krause] wasn't gonna do that."

The Last Dance focuses primarily on the Bulls' 1997-98 campaign that ended with the dynasty's sixth and final championship.

Pippen was limited to 44 regular-season games that year. The 1987 fifth overall pick made his season debut on Jan. 10. The Bulls finished 62-20 before defeating the Utah Jazz 4-2 in the Finals.

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The Hall of Fame forward had signed a seven-year, $18 million contract in 1991 that was set to expire after the 1997-98 season. Pippen went on to play for the Houston Rockets in 1998-99 and the Portland Trail Blazers (1999 to 2003) before finishing his playing career with the Bulls in 2003-04.

Jordan retired from the NBA after that championship run—his second retirement after leaving to play baseball in 1994—but returned to finish with the Washington Wizards from 2001 to 2003.