Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen Produced the Best Basketball a Legendary Sports Author Has Seen During His Years of Covering the NBA: ‘I’ve Seen a Lot of Great Basketball, but I Don’t Think I’ve Ever Seen Greater Basketball Than What Michael and Scottie Produced’
Chicago Bulls legends Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen are arguably the best duo in NBA history. They won six championships in the ’90s and never lost in the Finals. The Hall of Famers also three-peated twice.
Jordan and Pippen may not have been close friends during their playing days, but that didn’t prevent them from producing the best basketball sports author Roland Lazenby has witnessed during his years of covering the NBA.
Roland Lazenby: Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were phenomenal together
Lazenby covered the Bulls during the ’90s and wrote several books about them. His most recent work on the Bulls was Michael Jordan: The Life, which came out in 2014. It was named Sports Book of the Year in 2015 at the Polish Sports Book Awards.
When the Los Angeles Lakers three-peated in the 2000s, Lazenby also had a front-row seat to that dynasty. The legendary sportswriter has been covering the NBA since the ’80s, but he still hasn’t seen any duo top what Jordan and Pippen did.
“Obviously, to go in and cover them and go through so much stuff is one of the highlights of my life. I’ve seen a lot of great basketball, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen greater basketball than what Michael and Scottie produced,” Lazenby told Michael Tillery of Sportskeeda.
Pippen has taken several shots at Jordan since ESPN’s The Last Dance docuseries came out in April 2020. The seven-time All-Star is upset that the documentary glorified Jordan while not giving sufficient credit to him and his former teammates for the Bulls’ dynasty.
Since he was around the team so much, Lazenby understands why Pippen came out with a book after The Last Dance premiered.
Roland Lazenby: Pip is not going to take the crap
Pippen felt disrespected and belittled by Jordan after watching The Last Dance. The two-time gold medalist believes the docuseries was all about making MJ look good and more significant than his teammates.
Just like the entire sports world, Lazenby has seen some of the things Pippen has written about Jordan and the documentary in his book, Unguarded, and he’s not shocked by what the Arkansas native is doing.
“I think The Last Dance achieved so many things,” Lazenby said. “It was hardly a failure. Obviously, a tremendous success, but there were things that were probably upsetting to guys like Scottie. Ron Harper may have been deeply wounded by being left out, but he’s not the type of guy to articulate that. Scottie is not going to take the crap. If he’s mad, he’s going to speak up. Sometimes, in anger, one may not lay out the best case for things.”
Pippen is using his book to tell his side of the Bulls’ dynasty and clearly isn’t afraid to criticize Jordan. While it’s undoubtedly been strange to see Pip bash His Airness so much, nothing will change how dominant the Bulls icons were as a duo.
Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen won so many games together
Jordan and Pippen played 691 regular-season games together. The Bulls went 514-177, good for a winning percentage of .744. Jordan and Pippen also won 117 postseason games with Chicago.
The Bulls never played in a Game 7 in the Finals and only trailed a Finals series twice. Jordan averaged 33.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in 35 games in the Finals, while Pippen put up 19.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game.
Chicago defeated the Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Seattle SuperSonics, and Utah Jazz (twice) for its six championships and faced at least one Hall of Famer in each series. Lazenby is fortunate he was able to cover the Bulls during the Jordan-Pippen era. He will likely always cherish his memories, even if Pippen is bitter about some of them.