Jordan is widely recognized as the greatest scorer ever. He not only won 10 scoring titles, but His Airness is also the NBA’s all-time leader in points per game at 30.1. Meanwhile, Pippen is one of the top defenders in NBA history. He made 10 All-Defensive teams and routinely guarded the opposing team’s best scorer during his prime years on the Bulls.
Jordan was undoubtedly a better offensive player than Pippen. However, during a recent interview with Dan Patrick on the Dan Patrick Show, the latter made it seem like the former wouldn’t have destroyed him in a one-on-one game had they played each other.
Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen never played each other one-on-one
Pippen told Patrick he and Jordan never played each other one-on-one during their Bulls days. However, he did admit that the matchup would have been interesting since both players had their moments where they were on top of the mountain.
“It would have been interesting. He had his moments where he was at a high, and I had my moments in my career where I was at a high,” Pippen said. “It would have been an interesting matchup, but in my era, I never really believed in one-on-one, and that’s kind of where the game has evolved into today.”
Jordan was a superior offensive player than Pippen. He averaged 31.5 points with the Bulls and is the fifth-leading scorer in NBA history. However, Pippen was a skilled scorer in his own right, averaging 18.0 points during his first stint in Chicago. It’s not like he wouldn’t have scored on Jordan had they played one-on-one. Besides, Pippen likely could have averaged more points if Jordan wasn’t the No. 1 option on offense. After all, in 1993-94, when MJ played baseball, Pippen put up a career-high 22.0 points per game.
It certainly would have been fun for Bulls players to watch Jordan and Pippen play one-on-one. However, the two superstars were more focused on team success rather than seeing who the better one-on-one player was.
Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen won 514 games together
The Bulls had a stellar record of 514-177 when Jordan and Pippen played. The two basketball icons never missed the playoffs as a duo, never failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs, never lost in the Finals, and never had to play in a Game 7 in the championship round.
Jordan is the Bulls’ all-time leader in games, minutes, field goals, free throws, rebounds, assists, steals, points, triple-doubles, points per game, steals per game, player efficiency rating, and win shares. He not only put up incredible stats, but he also did whatever it took to will the Bulls to wins, as evidenced in Game 5 of the 1997 Finals when he played and scored 38 points despite dealing with food poisoning.
Pippen is second in Bulls history in games, minutes, field goals, assists, steals, points, triple-doubles, and win shares. It bears mentioning that Jordan never won a playoff series until the Bulls acquired Pippen from the Seattle SuperSonics on draft night in 1987, which is probably why the latter felt underappreciated since everyone fawned over Air Jordan.
Small forward was underpaid his entire Bulls career
During Pippen’s prime years with the Bulls, the most he made was $3.4 million in a season. It was embarrassing since he was one of the top all-around players in the game. Jordan and Chicago don’t win six titles with Pippen.
In 1997-98, Jordan made $33.1 million. Meanwhile, Pippen earned a meager $2.8 million. It’s easy to see why he was furious with Bulls general manager Jerry Krause and owner Jerry Reinsdorf for not extending his contract. After all, Pippen was the second most important player on the team, but he was getting paid like a bench player.
It has been bizarre to see Pippen take jabs at Jordan lately. However, he’s certainly doing a good job promoting his book and staying in the spotlight despite being 55.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.