In an interview during the 1998 NBA Finals, Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf addressed rumors of the dynasty coming to an end, shedding light on Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan’s future with the franchise.
The 1997-98 season was a bitter-sweet season for the Chicago Bulls, marking the end of one of the greatest dynasties in American sports history. The Bulls had won their sixth title with a second 3-peat amid all the chaos and controversies in their 1997-98 campaign known as The Last Dance.
Former Bulls GM, the late Jerry Krause, had made his intentions publicly clear on not re-signing head coach Phil Jackson. At the time, Bulls forward Scottie Pippen was at constant loggerheads with the front office over his contract.
On the other hand, Jordan wasn’t willing to play under any other coach barring Phil and wanted Pippen by his side. Things only became uglier with MJ not hesitating to voice his grievances in front of the media. The dissent against Krause was evident in the Bulls camp, with superstars MJ and Pippen mocking the Bulls GM.
As the Bulls were on the quest for their second 3-peat during the 1998 Finals, chairperson Jerry Reinsdorf sat down for an interview addressing all the noise surrounding his team.
“I don’t wanna be the person that breaks up the Chicago Bulls as long as they are winning championships”: Jerry Reinsdorf (Bulls owner).
It’s no secret that the Bulls had a strained 1997-98 season, documented very well in MJ’s docuseries The Last Dance. The front office and players had reached a point of deadlock, with a departing Pippen being a key force in keeping the group of players together.
Despite all the mayhem, the Bulls would continue to win games on the hardwood, clinching a spot in the 1998 NBA Finals facing the Utah Jazz. As Phil Jackson and his men looked to 3-peat for the second time, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf sat down for a candid interview.
“I certainly hope if we do win, this is not the end of the run,” said Reinsdorf. “Of course, it’s not totally up to me, and I mean Michael and Scottie and seven other players are free agents.”
When asked about Pippen being the key to keeping the dynasty intact, Reinsdorf said the following.
“Well, we certainly want to sit down with Scottie when we are allowed to do it, we can’t till July 1st under the NBA rules but as soon as we can sit down and talk, we’re certainly gonna talk to Scottie.”
“Obviously, Scottie Pippen is very important to Michael because he knows that Scottie is the perfect complement to him and I think if Scottie was not to return that might have an impact on Michael’s decision.”
— The Jordan Rules (@Rules23Jordan) May 15, 2022
Unfortunately for the Bulls fans, a breakup was inevitable, with MJ, Scottie, and Phil going separate ways post winning the chip in 98.