Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen are widely recognized as the best duo in NBA history since they won six championships together and went 6-0 in the Finals. Jordan is arguably the greatest player of all time, while Pippen is in the discussion of top two-way players ever.
During the Chicago Bulls dynasty, Jordan got most of the attention and praise since he was the leading scorer and one of the most famous athletes in the world. His greatness was so overwhelming that he prevented one of the best defenders in NBA history from realizing how special Pippen was.
Metta Sandiford-Artest: When Scottie Pippen was with Michael Jordan, it was all about Michael
Metta Sandiford-Artest, who won the 2003-04 Defensive Player of the Year Award and made four All-Defensive teams during his NBA career, told Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports that he didn’t respect Pippen’s greatness until everyone around him kept talking about it. Jordan dominated the headlines when the Bulls won six titles in the ’90s, so Pippen’s superb skills sometimes went under the radar.
“I didn’t realize how good Scottie was, honestly,” Artest said. “I don’t know if it’s just me, but when Scottie was with Michael, it was all about Michael. We know Scottie would come and hit the shot off the glass. Scottie would get a stop. You throw it up, Scottie’s gonna dunk it. We knew all that. He in the triangle, passing the ball. As a kid, you don’t understand that that’s greatness. With that being said, I didn’t respect Scottie’s offensive greatness until everyone kept talking about it, honestly.”
Artest may have initially taken Pippen’s game for granted, but Jordan never did. After all, His Airness called the small forward his best teammate of all time and said he wouldn’t have won six rings without him in The Last Dance docuseries.
Michael Jordan on Scottie Pippen: He was a pleasure to play with
Jordan may be the GOAT, but it’s worth mentioning that he never got out of the first round of the playoffs until Pippen came to the Bulls in 1987. That’s why Black Jesus has so much admiration for the seven-time All-Star and Hall of Famer.
“I would never be able to find a tandem, another support system, another partner in the game of basketball like Scottie Pippen,” Jordan said in The Last Dance. “He was a pleasure to play with. He helped me so much in the way that I approached the game, the way I played the game. Whenever they speak Michael Jordan, they should speak Scottie Pippen. Everybody says, well, I won all these championships, but I didn’t win without Scottie Pippen, and that’s why I consider him my best teammate of all time.”
Jordan and Pippen played in 691 regular-season games together with the Bulls. Both players not only put up sensational numbers but they also led Chicago to a plethora of wins.
Bulls went 514-177 when MJ and Scottie played
The Bulls had a stellar regular-season record of 514-177 when Jordan and Pippen were in the lineup. That’s good for a winning percentage of .744.
Jordan averaged 31.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.6 assists with Pippen by his side, while Pippen put up 17.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. Both legends have their jerseys hanging in the rafters at the United Center and are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
We may never see another duo in NBA history like Jordan and Pippen. While Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were dominant with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Bulls icons never had beef with each other and never lost in the NBA Finals.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.