Scottie Pippen doubles down on MJ’s comment with boastful IG post originally on NBC Sports Chicago
Scottie Pippen, a longtime small forward and six-time champion with the Chicago Bulls, singled out Michael Jordan as a “horrible player” before Pippen joined the team in 1987.
He followed up the social media comments and commotion with a boastful Instagram post.
“From humble beginnings to 6 championships, 2 gold medals, Hall of Fame and franchise leader Bulls with the most playoff wins. Here are the unsung heroes… Cheers!” Pippen captioned the photo of a younger version of himself.
Here’s what he said on the recent Jordan podcast.
“I saw Michael Jordan play before I came to the Bulls. You saw him play. He was a horrible player,” Pippen said on the Give me the hot sauce! podcast. “It was awful to play with him. Everything was 1v1, pulling bad shots. All of a sudden we become a team and we start winning. Everyone forgot who he was. He was a player who really wasn’t at the top of his class.”
I’ll argue that in a second. First, I’ll let Pippen do the heavy lifting.
Not even less than a minute later, another ex-Chicago Bull, Stacey, King asked Pippen who would win a game between the Chicago Bulls 72-10 and the Golden State Warriors 73-9. Pippen wasted no time.
“Come on, man. We’re the best team ever. If MJ hadn’t gone, we probably could have won 2-3 more titles,” Pippen said.
I thought Jordan was a “horrible player”? How could they have won two more titles? I guess Pippen would have countered that his presence on the team would have propelled Jordan and the 1998 Bulls to more titles.
Nevertheless, there is perhaps no more blatant and objectively erroneous claim about Jordan’s playing career.
The final season before Pippen joined the Bulls in 1986-87, Jordan averaged 37.1 points (the most in a single season of his career) as well as 5.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game with just under 50% shooting from the field. His efficiency and assists increased after Pippen’s arrival, but what else?
Pippen’s presence probably helped Jordan win Defensive Player of the Year in Pippen’s rookie year, I’ll give him that. But a horrible player? “Horrible player” and “Michael Jordan” are words that should never be in the same sentence. Pippen also placed Jordan in his all-time starting five. Logic doesn’t fit anywhere.
The six NBA championships won by Jordan, Pippen and the Bulls in the 90s would not have been possible without Pippen. He is arguably the second best player to exist in a team. Jordan also acknowledged this, saying “There’s no Michael Jordan without Scottie Pippen”. This is where the debates get interesting. One player can’t do everything, as Pippen also said on the podcast. But if Jordan wasn’t here, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
Another point Pippen stood on — this more reasonable one — was his stance on LeBron James as the “statistically” greatest player of all time.
“LeBron is the biggest winner,” Pippen said. “He’s a lot older now and gets criticized a lot. He was never a shooter. He was never the guy who fired the last shot. He was never good at that. I said it many years ago, and I got criticized for it. When LeBron James leaves the game, he’ll be the best statistical player to ever play the game.”
Pippen went on to mention that he’s been saying that since James was “two to three years” in the NBA. Unfortunately, Pippen would still be wrong. I’m going to let him counter-argue again.
“Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever put on shoes and play in our game. There’s no doubt about it. There’s no game where I would choose LeBron James over Michael Jordan,” Pippen said on ESPN in 2018 when debating the subject of Jordan vs. James.
Pippen’s recent comments are an unfortunate product of his relationship with Jordan. His arguments are in no way supported by solid, logical evidence to support his case. There are many instances where he counter-argued himself, such as those shown above.
The burden of Pippen’s argument comes from his personal gripes with Jordan. He mentioned on the podcast that he doesn’t believe his relationship with Jordan and Phil Jackson can be changed. His argument carries no weight and is loaded with the factor of his connection to Jordan.
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