Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen Weren’t as Close off the Court as Many People Thought: ‘We Never Really Had That off the Court Relationship’
Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen are widely recognized as the greatest duo in NBA history. During the ’90s, the two Hall of Famers led the Chicago Bulls to six championships and never lost in the NBA Finals.
Everyone could see the chemistry Jordan and Pippen had on the basketball court. However, many people don’t know the two Bulls legends weren’t that close with each other off the court.
Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen pushed each other to be great
In an interview with Tyler R. Tynes of GQ, Pippen talked about the relationship he and Jordan shared on the basketball court. The seven-time All-Star said he and MJ pushed each other to be great and were battled-tested.
“Our relationship between the lines was impeccable. We pushed each other to be great,” Pippen said. “We trained with each other to be the best. So, everything we did, from a basketball standpoint, it was a high level of respect there that we knew we could be the best. We could be dominant. We had went through pretty much the Vietnam War to get where we got to. We were battle-tested.”
From 1991 to 1998, the Bulls won six titles. Although Jordan won all six Finals MVPs, Pippen did most of the dirty work and was instrumental in creating the dynasty. He’s one of the best two-way players in NBA history, and several pundits consider him the greatest defender of all time.
Jordan and Pippen were seemingly always connected on the court and knew how to dominate a game both offensively and defensively. Bulls fans assumed the two stars were best friends off the court since they were in sync on the hardwood.
However, according to Pippen, that wasn’t the case.
Scottie Pippen says he and Michael Jordan didn’t have a relationship off the court
Despite being a dynamic duo on the basketball court for the Bulls, Jordan and Pippen apparently didn’t hang out with each other that much off the court. Pippen told GQ that was mostly due to Jordan being such an iconic figure.
“Michael was bigger than the game, you know. Even my initial arrival to Chicago he was a big, iconic figure for the NBA,” Pippen said. “So, we never really had that off the court relationship. Michael had his power and control. He established that years before I got there.”
This quote from Pippen lines up with what Dennis Rodman said on 105.1 The Breakfast Club in 2019. The rebounding machine claimed that he, Jordan, and Pippen would often go to the same restaurant after a game but would never sit at the same table.
Jordan and Pippen clearly got along and had an exemplary rapport on the basketball court. However, while they were friends on the Bulls and remain allies to this day, the NBA icons apparently didn’t have significant compatibility off the court.
Pip says the Last Dance was more about MJ than the Bulls
While he enjoyed watching the Last Dance with his kids, Pippen believes the popular docuseries was more about Jordan uplifting himself than the Bulls’ dynasty.
“It was enjoyable. It was entertaining,” Pippen said. “My kids never saw my career so I watched it with them. I knew it was going to be something that was more built for Michael to supersize himself to this generation of basketball players, to make himself the greatest, and bigger, and everything was kind of focused on his legacy and what he did in the game. It wasn’t about what the Chicago Bulls did. It wasn’t about what we did as a team.”
Pippen has a book coming out soon called Unguarded. The six-time champion believes people need to know more about his story and career since the Last Dance focused more on Jordan. It will certainly be an interesting read, especially since the preview of the book labeled Pippen — and not Jordan — as the real leader of the Bulls.