“The Last Dance” was largely well-received as an entertaining, welcome trip down sports memory lane at a much-needed time.
But it had its fair share of critics pointing to Michael Jordan’s heavy hand in shaping how he was portrayed — that it wasn’t a shining beacon of balanced documentary filmmaking.
Count Horace Grant in the latter camp. Jordan’s teammate on three NBA championships lit into him in a radio interview Tuesday, calling him a “snitch,” accusing him of lying and challenging him to “settle this like men.”
Grant’s primary point of contention appears to be Jordan blaming him for leaking locker-room information to author Sam Smith for his 1992 exposé “The Jordan Rules.”
But his beef doesn’t stop there. Grant took issue with the documentary’s portrayal of Scottie Pippen, Jordan’s treatment of him personally and his bullying of teammates. He laid it all out in an interview with Kap and Co. on ESPN 1000 in Chicago.
‘We can settle it another way’
"Lie, lie, lie,” Grant said, per an ESPN transcript. “If MJ had a grudge with me, let’s settle this like men. Let’s talk about it. Or we can settle it another way. But yet and still, he goes out and puts this lie out that I was the source behind [the book].
“Sam and I have always been great friends. We’re still great friends. But the sanctity of that locker room, I would never put anything personal out there.”
Grant continued that Jordan used “The Last Dance” to air out grievances while questioning the fairness of the “so-called documentary.”
“It’s only a grudge, man,” Grant said. “I’m telling you, it was only a grudge. And I think he proved that during this so-called documentary. When if you say something about him, he’s going to cut you off, he’s going to try to destroy your character.”
Grant said Jordan was the real “snitch,” chastising him for his statements early in the documentary pointing to cocaine use among Bulls players when he was a rookie.
Horace Grant sounds ready to fight Michael Jordan. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)‘That’s a damn snitch right here’
“And my point is, he said that I was the snitch, but yet and still after 35 years he brings up his rookie year going into one of his teammate’s rooms and seeing coke and weed and women,” Grant said.
“My point is: Why the hell did he want to bring that up? What’s that got to do with anything? I mean, if you want to call somebody a snitch, that’s a damn snitch right there.”
Grant also took issue with how “The Last Dance” portrayed Pippen. The documentary went heavy into examining Pippen’s contract conflict with the Bulls in 1997, with Jordan calling Pippen “selfish” for his negotiation tactics that saw him delay a medical procedure.
The documentary also featured Pippen’s refusal to enter the final seconds of a playoff game against the New York Knicks when Phil Jackson drew up a shot for Toni Kukoc instead of him. That incident happened while Jordan was playing baseball. Grant said that the players who were on the team at the time made peace with Pippen and questioned why Jordan even brought it up.
“MJ wasn’t even on the team,” Grant said. “Why was that in there? ... We go on to take the Knicks to seven games. It was over. Why bring that up? That’s my question to everybody out there who’s listening.”
Grant also criticized Jordan’s treatment of teammates. He said he never backed down to Jordan’s tactics but believes that Jordan’s behavior in the locker room and on the practice court was out of line. Jordan’s repeated berating of Scott Burrell was featured heavily in “The Last Dance.”
“He felt that he could dominate me, but that was sadly mistaken,” Grant said. “Because whenever he went at me, I went at him right back. But in terms of Will Perdue, Steve Kerr and the young man, Scott Burrell, that was heartbreaking.”
Jordan and Grant may have shared one of the greatest runs in sports history together. But Grant clearly left with some scars that were reopened by watching “The Last Dance” along with the rest of us.
And 27 years after last playing with Jordan, Grant sounds ready to fight.