Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen have been in the news lately after the latter took several shots at the former in his memoir, Unguarded. Pippen said Jordan was condescending in ESPN’s The Last Dance docuseries. He also accused MJ of ruining basketball.
Pippen is upset at Jordan over how The Last Dance turned out. He’s been going after His Airness left and right ever since the docuseries came out in April 2020, which has prompted Jordan fanatics to remind both Pippen and Chicago Bulls fans just how complimentary Black Jesus was of Pip back in the day.
Michael Jordan showered Scottie Pippen with praise after Bulls’ fourth title
Jordan praised Pippen during his postgame press conference after the Bulls won the 1996 championship over the Seattle SuperSonics. It was one of many positive things Jordan had to say about Pippen during their dominant run together.
“He’s one of the reasons I came back,” Jordan said about Pippen. “If he leaves, I’m leaving again. I hope he’s around, and as much as I’ve admired Shawn Kemp’s ability, I’m just so happy they didn’t make that trade. If they made that trade, no telling if we would have been here and if I would have been here. A lot of people doubted Scottie Pippen for a long period of time, and he’s become like a little brother to me. … I’m very blessed to be a part of his team.”
Jordan averaged 27.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.2 assists against the SuperSonics in the 1996 Finals en route to winning his fourth Finals MVP. Meanwhile, Pippen put up 15.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.3 steals per game in the six-game series. Jordan knew how valuable Pippen was to him and the Bulls, which is why he was pleased Chicago didn’t trade the small forward to the SuperSonics following the 1993-94 season.
Bulls almost traded Scottie Pippen to Seattle
The Bulls and SuperSonics discussed a trade involving Pippen and Shawn Kemp in the summer of 1994. However, the deal got squashed at the last minute. Jordan was playing baseball at the time of the Pippen-Kemp rumors, but he admitted in 2008 that he wouldn’t have come out of retirement in March 1995 had the trade gone through.
“Probably not,” Jordan said in 2008 at All-Star Weekend. “I could have played with Shawn, but I wouldn’t have been as comfortable as I was with Scottie.”
Someone needs to show Pippen all these quotes from Jordan. In his book and all the interviews he’s done since The Last Dance came out, the Arkansas native sounds so bitter about his time with the UNC product. Pippen makes it seem like Jordan didn’t appreciate what he brought to the table. However, it was the exact opposite.
In fact, Jordan loved Pippen’s game so much that after Chicago beat Seattle, he told SLAM Magazine he would pay money to watch the swingman play basketball.
Michael Jordan on Pip after fourth ring: “I think he is the ultimate team player”
There were so many talented players in the ’90s. However, Pippen was the only guy Jordan would have paid his hard-earned money to watch play.
“I would pay to see Scottie Pippen play,” Jordan said. “I think he is the ultimate team player. A guy that can score, pass, rebound and play defense. I also think he’s great to have in the locker room. We have been closer this year, and I have really enjoyed that. Scottie does a lot of things on the court that amaze me. He moves really well and has those long arms and legs, and basically has no weaknesses. Also, he’s matured and is confident of his role on this team. At times, he amazes me.”
Time after time, Jordan went out of his way to praise Pippen. Jordan’s not the one who underrated Pippen. The media may have, but Black Jesus always valued his partner in crime.