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The Last Dance

How 'The Last Dance' impacted the big picture perception of Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls

Now that the 10th and final episode of "The Last Dance" has aired and there's been ample time to fully digest everything witnessed over an enchanting month-long 90s binge, it's the perfect opportunity to see exactly where the dust settled on Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls.

Rarely does enough new information become available two decades after the fact to flip the script on big picture narratives and yet that's exactly what went down thanks to grainy behind the scenes footage, scores of fresh interviews, and - of course - MJ's priceless reactions watching interviews playback on an iPad.

Complete coverage of "The Last Dance" continues on NBA.com

But not everything changed.

For every altered perspective came confirmation of long-held beliefs about some of the central figures standing Jordan's larger-than-life presence.

After fully digesting all 10 hours, here is one thing I changed my mind on, one thing I confirmed and one thing I learned about the NBA's most influential dynasty of the modern era.

One thing I changed my mind on: Scottie Pippen was underrated

This isn't me jumping on Pippen for being "soft" as some on the internet are doing, but there's been a long-standing argument that Chicago's Robin would've been more appreciated had he not been in Michael's shadow for the majority of his career.

Watching "The Last Dance" and going back to re-watch games and dig deeper into the stats from the prime years of the Bulls' dynasty, I'm here to tell you Scottie Pippen's place in history is exactly where it should be. He was the perfect Robin, the perfect sidekick to complement Jordan through all the winning. He wouldn't have had a better career having his own team, or been more appreciated in NBA history had he had his own spotlight, we can kill that argument. Scottie Pippen was properly cast as a premier number two.

MORE: What if the Bulls actually traded Scottie Pippen?

Look there's no shame in that. He's still a Hall of Famer, he has six championships and he's widely regarded as the best second option in NBA history. That's Scottie's legacy and it isn't a bad one. But the "Scottie Pippen is underappreciated" crowd needs to pipe down.

Injuries aside, the one chance he had to prove himself a leader in the locker room, he failed and the Bulls suffered for it. Not entering Game 3 of the 94 playoffs against the Knicks is the biggest black mark on his career, and the fact that all this time later he says he wouldn't do anything different knowing how it impacted the team at the time and knowing how the results played out shows you all you need to know.

MORE: Taking Pippen's side in the most controversial moment of his career

Later on in his career when he wasn't the best player on the Blazers roster, but was certainly the leader and the guy who had all the playoff experience in the world, he helplessly looked on as the Lakers roared back from down 15 in the fourth period of Game 7 in the Conference Finals. With an opportunity ripe for the taking to finally make his championship mark free from Jordan's shadow, Pippen had 12 points in the game including none in the fourth quarter.

Pippen had the game to rise to the occasion every so often and he certainly had his moments. It's another thing entirely to hold the torch and truly lead a team through adversity. That he was unable to do so when presented with multiple opportunities throughout his career has changed my previously held belief that Pippen was underrated.

One thing I had confirmed: Phil Jackson is the best coach in NBA history

Phil Jackson is the greatest coach in NBA history. We knew about the 11 rings and the implementation of the triangle, but the way he was able to keep his teams focussed, manage egos on and off the court and handle the pressure-packed moments is second to none.

MORE: What happened during Michael Jordan's first retirement?

Jackson's balancing act of earning Jordan's trust early on while actually convincing him to relinquish responsibilities on the floor can't be understated. Asking Jordan - perhaps the most gifted individual talent in the history of the NBA - to do less in order to achieve more when up until that point the rest of the Bulls had proven incapable of stepping up takes some serious cache. It's almost unfathomable before even considering Jordan's unmatched competitive fire and hardened leadership style.

MORE: A closer look into the post-MJ Bulls

I couldn't imagine the conversations Jackson would've had to have with teammates when MJ took things to far and the countless meetings between coach and supernova needed to reinforce that he needed to trust those same teammates all the while maintaining the respect of the room by all.

Winning doesn't always cure all and such is the case with Jackson even after proving to be a winner as things kept getting harder and harder at a time when you'd think they'd get easier what with players concerned about their contracts, openly uneasy relationships with the front office and Dennis Rodman taking off whenever he felt like.

Somehow and someway, when the ball went up Jackson time and again had his teams in the best position to win.

We may truly never see another Phil Jackson.

One thing I learned: Jerry Krause was a good GM

Jerry Krause really got crushed throughout the entire documentary, but he did an incredible job building what became to be a dynasty.

By the time he took over as General Manager of the Bulls, Michael Jordan was already there so Krause had to find talent to build around him. He had to find the right coach who could get through to him and he did that in Phil Jackson.

He had to find the right complementary pieces that would fit around Jordan - a player who was known at the time as a ball hog - and he did that. He drafted the right players like Horace Grant and B.J. Armstrong. He made the right draft-day deals to get a guy like Scottie Pippen and was able to value talented free agents who would play a major role in championship runs like Steve Kerr and Ron Harper.

MORE: How Krause built a dynasty

He made tough decisions like trading Charles Oakley and trading for a disgruntled Dennis Rodman at the peak of his rebellion.

Was he perfect? No, but Krause did as good a job as you could've asked for building around a gifted talent like Jordan. Too much time is spent on how things ended with the Bulls dynasty and how Krause's ego got the best of him.

Jordan was talented enough that he would've certainly won multiple championships in his career, but Jerry Krause may have made his job a little easier with the pieces he put around him.

The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.

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