Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem show their support for Scottie Pippen
Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade did not become a secondary player until the second half of his career while longtime teammate Udonis Haslem was always in a complementary role.
It made it easier to understand the plight of Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen, who has always fought stigma of being Michael Jordan's sidekick during their playing days. The subject arose again with ESPN beginning a 10-part documentary on Jordan dubbed "The Last Dance" that started Sunday night.
A large part of the opening two episodes centered on the importance of Pippen and how did more than just ride Jordan's coattails to six NBA championships. Wade and Haslem both expressed their support for Pippen.
After leading the Heat in scoring his first seven seasons, Wade took a backseat when LeBron James arrived in 2010. They won two titles in four straight NBA Finals appearance, with James receiving most of the attention. James won two regular season and Finals MVPs during the run. Haslem, too, was in the shadows.
The Jordan documentary explains the value of Pippen during the Bulls' dynasty. They averaged 58 victories after his arrival in 1987. In 1993-94, they won 55 games behind Pippen after Jordan retired for the first time. The Bulls were one game from reaching the Eastern Conference finals. The two later reunited when Jordan returned 1 1/2 seasons later and led Chicago to a second three-peat.
Both are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
"Whenever they speak Michael Jordan, they should speak Scottie Pippen," Jordan said during the documentary.