Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen was part of the 1992 United States Dream Team and played a significant role in helping the Americans win the gold medal. Many sports pundits believe the Dream Team is the greatest basketball roster ever assembled since every player on the squad except for Christian Laettner is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Most basketball fans know that Detroit Pistons great Isiah Thomas was left off the Dream Team due to his rocky relationship with several players on the roster, most notably Michael Jordan. However, one tidbit about the Dream Team many people forget is that Pippen didn’t think he deserved a spot when Rod Thorn put the team together.
Scottie Pippen didn’t think he should have been on Dream Team
During the 2012 Dream Team documentary, Pippen admitted that he didn’t think he deserved to be invited to play for the team. However, the Bulls superstar certainly wasn’t going to tell Thorn that.
“I didn’t feel like that I deserve to be called,” Pippen said in the documentary. “But I truly wasn’t going to tell them that.”
It’s interesting that Pippen said this statement in the documentary since he was one of the top all-around players in the NBA when the Dream Team was initially constructed in September 1991. His spot on the team wasn’t questioned by anyone before the ’92 Olympics officially started. He helped the Bulls win two championships in ’91 and ’92 and established himself as a do-it-all swingman.
Scottie Pippen led Dream Team in assists per game
Pippen led the Dream Team in assists per game (5.9) and played suffocating defense, especially on Toni Kukoc in the two games USA faced off against Croatia. The Bulls icon averaged 9.0 points and shot 59.6% from the field in the eight Olympic games.
The Dream Team defeated Croatia in the gold medal game to cap off a historic Olympics. Pippen finished with 12 points, two rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 23 minutes of action. He posted a total of 72 points, 17 rebounds, 47 assists, and 24 steals in the eight games in Barcelona.
Pippen was also on the 1996 Olympic Team. He is the only person to win an NBA championship and Olympic gold medal twice in the same year. The Bulls won the ’92 title over the Portland Trail Blazers and the ’96 championship over the Seattle SuperSonics. Team USA, of course, won the gold medal in ’92 and ’96.
Jordan is undoubtedly the greatest player in Bulls history. However, MJ and Chicago don’t win six championships without Pippen.
Pip was so versatile for the Bulls
In 856 games with the Bulls, Pippen averaged 17.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.1 steals. He made seven All-Star teams and seven All-NBA teams and finished his overall career — which included stops in Houston and Portland — as a 10-time All-Defensive team member.
Pippen is second in Bulls history in several noteworthy categories: games, minutes, field goals, assists, steals, points, triple-doubles, and win shares. Jordan never won a playoff series without Pippen, which is why the latter is widely recognized as the most remarkable “Robin” in NBA history.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.