During the 1993-94 season, Scottie Pippen was the best player on the Chicago Bulls since Michael Jordan was retired. MJ stepped away from basketball after his father was murdered, leaving Pippen in charge of the Bulls.
One of the best players in NBA history, Pippen had a stellar 1993-94 campaign. However, he showed his immaturity a few times, although one of the instances didn’t come back to bite him.
Scottie Pippen was tipsy during the 1994 All-Star Game
According to Carolina Howe of the New York Post, Pippen drank beer before the 1994 All-Star Game and was tipsy during the contest. Howe summarized an excerpt from Pippen’s memoir, Unguarded.
“Before the game, he was hanging out with a buddy, playing the card game Tonk,” Howe wrote. “Each player had to down a shot of beer with every losing hand. Over a few hours, Pippen got tipsy and didn’t care because he viewed it as only an exhibition game and hadn’t planned on putting much energy into the game.”
Despite being slightly inebriated, Pippen played well in the ’94 All-Star Game. He put up 29 points, 11 rebounds, and four steals in 31 minutes while shooting 9-of-15 from the field. The All-NBA defender won the MVP Award and was glad he finally got to take a trophy home.
“For once, it was nice to win something of my own instead of watching Michael walk off with another trophy,” Pippen writes in his memoir.
Pippen averaged 22.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 5.6 assists in 1993-94. He led the Bulls to 55 wins sans Jordan and finished third in MVP voting. However, he was in the news for the wrong reasons twice.
Scottie Pippen got arrested for having a gun and refused to go into a playoff game
Pippen may have had a spectacular regular season and won the All-Star Game MVP, but he didn’t behave like a proper leader all the time. In January 1994, the swingman was arrested for having a loaded gun in his car. The charges were dropped because of an illegal search. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a good look for the Arkansas native.
Four months later, Pippen refused to go into a playoff game against the New York Knicks after Phil Jackson drew up the game-winning shot for Toni Kukoc. The Hall of Famer was so angry at the Zen Master that he thought Jackson was a racist for picking a White player to take the shot over him.
“I was so hurt when he picked Toni over me that I needed to come up with an explanation for why I was rejected,” Pippen writes in his book. “So I told myself at the time that Phil’s decision must have been racially motivated. Only when I saw my words in print did it dawn on me how wrong I was — after thirty years!”
The Bulls wound up losing to the Knicks in the 1994 Eastern Conference semifinals in seven games. Agitated over his contract status, Pippen requested a trade and was almost dealt to the Seattle SuperSonics for Shawn Kemp. However, the SuperSonics backed out at the last minute.
Jordan returned to the Bulls near the end of the 1994-95 season. Pippen may have been upset since he enjoyed being in the spotlight, but His Airness’ return was necessary.
Bulls won three more rings after Michael Jordan came back
Behind Jordan and Pippen, the Bulls won three more championships in 1996, 1997, and 1998 to finish with six during the ’90s. Jordan retired again after the sixth title, and Pippen was traded to the Houston Rockets in a sign-and-trade deal.
In 856 games with the Bulls, Pippen averaged 17.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and is one of the top 75 players in NBA history.
Pippen’s memoir makes it seem like he hated playing second fiddle to Jordan, so the book should be an exciting read for NBA fans. However, Bulls fans may be in for some harsh truths.