Scottie Pippen Admires Giannis Antetokounmpo for Persevering Through Adversity and Not Being Afraid to Be Humiliated: ‘We’ve Saw Him Shoot Airball 3s, We’ve Saw Teams Force Him to Shoot 3s, and He’s Really Worked at His Craft’

Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen is finally taking a break from bashing Michael Jordan. The six-time champion recently talked with Frank Isola on Sirus XM Radio and spoke about his admiration for Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.

During the 2021 playoffs, Antetokounmpo airballed shots from the free-throw line and beyond the arc. He also took a long time to shoot free throws, so much so that opposing crowds counted how long he was at the charity stripe.

Despite being humiliated, Antetokounmpo never stopped being aggressive and didn’t shy away from taking 3-pointers or attacking the rim even though he struggled from the line and knew opposing fans would do the countdown.

Pippen, one of the greatest players in NBA history, was impressed by how the Greek Freak handled himself en route to leading the Bucks to the championship.

Scottie Pippen on Giannis Antetokounmpo: “He’s met every challenge that’s been thrown at him”

Pippen believes part of Antetokounmpo’s greatness is his mindset of not being afraid to fail. Even though the two-time MVP embarrassed himself multiple times in the playoffs by air balling shots, he never stopped shooting or became passive on offense.

“I’ve always admired the way Giannis has played, the progress he’s made year in and year out,” Pippen told Isola. “And the fact that he’s not afraid to be humiliated. That’s what makes him great. We’ve saw him shoot airball 3s. We’ve saw teams force him to shoot 3s, and he’s really worked at his craft. Teams started fouling him. He hasn’t ran away from anything. In fact, he’s met every challenge that’s been thrown at him.”

In 21 games in the 2021 playoffs, Antetokounmpo shot only 18.6% from beyond the arc and 58.7% from the free-throw line. However, as all great players do, the one-time Defensive Player of the Year saved his best performance for when it mattered most.

Giannis Antetokounmpo shot 89.5% from the free-throw line in Game 6 of the 2021 Finals

During Game 6 of the Finals, Antetokounmpo shot 1-of-3 from beyond the arc and an impressive 17-of-19 from the free-throw line. He finished with 50 points and 14 rebounds in the Bucks’ seven-point win to clinch the championship.

The Bucks lost the first two games of the Finals but rattled off four straight wins to capture the Larry O’Brien trophy. Antetokounmpo averaged 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in the six-game series. While he shot a woeful 20.0% from beyond the arc and 65.9% from the free-throw line, he did what he had to do in Game 6 and won Finals MVP.

During his Hall of Fame career, Pippen shot 32.6% from beyond the arc and 70.4% from the free-throw line. Like Antetokounmpo, the Bulls icon worked hard on his shooting skills after entering the NBA in 1987, and that dedication helped him hit 664 3-pointers with Chicago, good for third in franchise history.

Antetokounmpo has already carved out a Hall of Fame résumé. On top of being a champion, Finals MVP, two-time regular-season MVP, and one-time Defensive Player of the Year, the Bucks swingman won the 2016-17 Most Improved Player of the Year Award and will undoubtedly make more All-Star (5) and All-NBA (5) teams.

Knowing Antetokounmpo, though, he likely wants to achieve what Pippen did with the Bulls in the ’90s.

Scottie Pippen won six rings, three-peated twice

Pippen won six titles with the Bulls and three-peated twice in the ’90s. He averaged 20.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 2.2 steals from 1990-91 to 1997-98 and was one of the top two-way players in the NBA. Pippen also won the 1994 All-Star Game MVP.

There’s a lot of similarities between Pippen and Antetokounmpo. Both guys are forwards who can play point guard and orchestrate the offense. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how many more rings and awards Antetokounmpo can win. He’s probably going to finish with a better individual career than Pippen, but Pip may end up with the edge in championships.

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