Jordan accused of ‘complete, blatant lie’
Maybe Horace Grant was right when he called The Last Dance a work of fiction.
Sam Smith, the author of The Jordan Rules and the former Chicago Tribune writer, poked some holes in the Michael Jordan documentary, as well.
He said the notion former Chicago Bulls star Grant was his only source in his famous book that portrayed Jordan in a less-than-angelic light was false and also laughed at the idea Jordan presented that himself, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and coach Phil Jackson would all have come back on one-year deals for the 1998-99 season had owner Jerry Reinsdorf made them offers.
Jordan instead retired and the Bulls rid themselves of their main championship pieces, entering a rebuild that went on for almost a decade.
"That was a complete and blatant lie by Michael," Smith said on 95.7 The Game. "There were several things in the documentary that I saw, I would know, that he made up or he lied about.
"They weren't major things, but it was like when a TV movie comes on and they say, 'This is based on a true story'. That's what that was. It was based on a true story."
Another point of contention was "The Flu Game" in 1997 when Jordan said he got food poisoning from bad pizza the night before Game 5 of the NBA Finals. At the time, it was reported that Jordan was battling "flu-like symptoms".
"The pizza thing - the poison - that was complete nonsense," Smith said. "There were a couple of other things like that I won't go into. They weren't major, but the thing at the end (about Jordan returning to play in 1998-99) was a complete, blatant lie.
"I know what happened."
As for Grant being Smith's lone source in his book, Smith pointed to having known Jackson from his pre-NBA coaching days in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) and Bulls assistant coach Johnny Bach for years, as well as having been around since Jordan's arrival in 1984.
It all goes back to the thorny relationship Jordan and Grant shared. Grant has spoken out about the documentary, saying Jordan stretched the truth in several instances, calling it "BS, in terms of the realness of it".
Pippen, who was not depicted very favourably, has yet to speak publicly about The Last Dance, but he also was "livid" at his portrayal in the 10-part series, according to ESPN host David Kaplan.
"Horace was a stubborn guy in his own right. He was very close with Scottie. That was always Scottie's closest friend," Smith said.
"And I think that's what all this is about. He's talking to Scottie. Scottie hasn't said anything publicly. Hasn't said a single thing about this and everything has been forced, if you will.
"I think he's defending Scottie. I think they still talk almost every day. This is probably partially coming from Scottie as far as a reaction to the things Horace is saying."
Originally published as Jordan accused of 'complete, blatant lie'