Because they were elite offensive and defensive players, Jordan and Pippen intimidated other stars in the league, so much so that one former small forward claims some guys were scared to play the Bulls.
Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were terrifying to play against
Chicago native Kendall Gill, who played in 966 NBA games, told Chicago sports historian Jack M Silverstein he was never frightened to play against Jordan and Pippen. However, the Illinois product admitted that some players were.
“The Bulls were just tough, but you know what I tell people all the time? During that era, I wasn’t afraid to play against Scottie and Michael. I wanted to play against them,” Gill said. “I wasn’t one of those guys that suffered the Mike Tyson effect, meaning that I was beat before I even got into the ring or into the arena. You got a lot of NBA players that were beat before they even got to the United Center or Chicago Stadium because they were playing against Michael and Scottie.”
Gill may not have backed down against Jordan and Pippen, but he didn’t have success against either Hall of Famer. The swingman had a record of 7-20 versus MJ and 8-25 against Pip.
Everyone who makes it to the NBA is talented. However, there are different levels of talent in the pros, and Jordan and Pippen proved they were at the top of the ability mountain in the ’90s.
Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were nearly unbeatable together
Jordan and Pippen appeared in 691 regular-season games together. The Bulls were 514-177 when the dynamic stars were in the lineup.
Behind Jordan and Pippen, the Bulls beat at least one Hall of Famer in the Finals en route to their six championships. They defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in 1991, the Portland Trail Blazers in 1992, the Phoenix Suns in 1993, the Seattle SuperSonics in 1996, and the Utah Jazz in 1997 and 1998.
Both Jordan and Pippen dominated the game offensively and defensively. That’s what separated them from the other duos they faced. The Bulls stars could take over a game on either side of the ball and swing momentum in their favor at the drop of a hat. They also never got jealous of each other.
Bulls legends never had beef
NBA fans have seen countless star duos break up due to egos. Luckily for Bulls fans, Jordan and Pippen never had beef and got along on and off the court.
Chicago never lost in the first round of the playoffs during the Jordan-Pippen era. Not only was Black Jesus always complimentary of his sidekick, but he also made it clear that he didn’t want to play for the Bulls if Pippen wasn’t around.
“I’d like to finish out my years with Pippen and Phil [Jackson],” Jordan told Cheryl Raye-Stout in 1995. “Pippen’s got three years left. I’d like to play three more years, and we walk out the same time.”
Jordan and Pippen are both in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Their incredible run in the ’90s may not be duplicated, and we may never see another tandem flourish and co-exist as seamlessly as they did.