Michael Jordan made $30.1 million and $33.1 million in his final two seasons with the Chicago Bulls. Meanwhile, Scottie Pippen only made $2.3 million and $2.8 million. The small forward was underpaid his entire Bulls career, which is why Pippen had beef with general manager Jerry Krause.
After the Bulls won the 1997 championship over the Utah Jazz, Jordan spoke about how Pippen should have made $30 million like him. His Airness always had his sidekick’s back because he knew he wouldn’t have won six rings without him.
Michael Jordan on Scottie Pippen: He should make $30 million like me
Jordan won the 1997 Finals MVP, but he said Pippen was his MVP. MJ called Pip his little brother and vouched for the swingman to get paid more.
“From a financial standpoint, from a contract standpoint, he locked in,” Jordan said about Pippen. “He’s locked in, and he’s very deserving of the same $30 million dollars — whatever I get in the next coming year — he’s very deserving of the same contract because he puts forth the effort every single night. He goes through the pain, and we work out every day. He’s joined me in working out every day to stay healthy and to get out here and provide for this organization and this city so that we can be healthy and we can continue to be champions.”
During the Bulls’ championship run, Pippen ranked second on the team in scoring, second in rebounds, second in minutes, first in assists, and first in steals. However, he was sixth on the Bulls and 122nd in the NBA in salary, and that never sat well with Jordan.
Michael Jordan on Scottie Pippen in 1995: “He’s totally underpaid”
Before the start of the 1995-96 season, Jordan told Cheryl Raye-Stout that Pippen was underpaid. The five-time MVP, who was underpaid before 1996-97, wished there was a way he could legally give his partner in crime more money.
“I wish there was some way legally that I could give him some of the money that he totally deserves as a player,” Jordan said. “He’s totally underpaid. For years, I was underpaid, but I played it out, and I think he’s going to play it out too. At the end of three years, I hope they reward him with a just and fair contract.”
In 1991, Pippen signed a seven-year, $18 million contract with the Bulls. If he had played it right, he could have made a lot more money, but the Arkansas native couldn’t risk passing up $18 million since he had to take care of his family, who didn’t have sufficient money.
Per Spotrac, Pippen made around $110 million in NBA money. Jordan earned roughly $93 million, but he’s racked up a net worth of around $1.6 billion thanks to his Jordan brand and other endorsements.
Even though Pippen was upset at the Bulls for being underpaid, he always came through in the clutch, and Jordan appreciated that.
Bulls went 6-0 in the Finals during MJ-Pip era
Jordan and Pippen guided the Bulls to six titles during an eight-year span. Chicago never lost in the Finals and prevented several Hall of Famers from winning championships.
Jordan averaged 30.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.9 assists during the dynasty years (1990-91 to 1997-98). Meanwhile, Pippen put up 20.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. The Bulls never played in a Game 7 in the Finals and only trailed during a championship series twice.
Both Jordan and Pippen are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Although the latter was underpaid with the Bulls, he did get paid with the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers and has a net worth of over $20 million in 2021. He’s not a billionaire like Jordan, but Pippen is doing well for himself.