Scottie Pippen Never Liked Playing for Former Bulls Coach Doug Collins: ‘Sometimes It Took Every Ounce of Self-Restraint for Me Not to Punch Doug Collins in the Mouth’
Michael Jordan isn’t the only person Scottie Pippen takes shots at in his new book, Unguarded. The Chicago Bulls legendary small forward also went after Doug Collins, who coached Chicago from 1986-87 to 1988-89.
While Pippen only played two seasons under Collins, it apparently took a lot of self-control for the Hall of Famer not to punch the Christopher, Illinois native.
Scottie Pippen: “Sometimes it took every ounce of self-restraint for me not to punch Doug Collins in the mouth”
Pippen wrote in his book that he wanted to punch Collins several times. The Bulls legend never did it, but he would have been happy to pay the fine if he did.
“Sometimes it took every ounce of self-restraint for me not to punch Doug Collins in the mouth,” Pippen wrote. “That is one fine I would have been happy to pay.”
Pippen averaged 11.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while Collins was his head coach. The six-time champion wasn’t a fan of Collins’ offense since it was catered to Jordan. Pippen also didn’t appreciate how Collins humiliated him in front of his teammates.
Doug Collins yelled at Scottie Pippen: “You don’t deserve your paycheck”
During Pippen’s rookie season, Collins yelled at him, “You don’t deserve your paycheck the way you’re playing!” Pip was humiliated when he heard that and didn’t respect how Collins delivered criticism.
“The best coaches are critical in a constructive manner,” Pippen wrote in his book. “They don’t humiliate their players. They nurture them. Not Doug. Never Doug.”
The Bulls fired Collins in the summer of 1989 and replaced him with Phil Jackson, who installed the triangle offense. In ESPN’s The Last Dance docuseries, Jordan said he wasn’t a fan of Jackson at first since the Zen Master took the ball out of his hands. The triangle offense is set so that there’s a key pass that creates motion, and then there are 33 different types of options that come out of that single pass.
“I wasn’t a Phil Jackson fan when he first came in,” Jordan said. “Because he was coming in to take the ball out of my hands. Doug put the ball in my hands.”
Jordan may not have liked Jackson initially, but Pippen did.
Pip: “The triangle offense allowed me to be more of what I wanted to be”
Pippen made his first All-Star team during Jackson’s first season as head coach of the Bulls. He averaged 16.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.4 assists and got to play the point-forward role.
“Phil took over and just had a different approach,” Pippen said in The Last Dance. “Doug’s approach was more catered to Michael, and Phil’s approach was more catered to the team. Tex Winter, his right-hand man, had sold him on an offense that he believed would get us out of this one-on-one type of basketball. I came in the game as being a point guard, but my growth sort of grew me into a small forward. The triangle offense allowed me to be more of what I wanted to be.”
Pippen played in the triangle offense from 1989-1990 to 1997-98. He averaged 19.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 5.9 assists during that stretch and made seven All-Star teams.
It’s a good thing Pippen never punched Collins. That would have been a disastrous situation for the player, coach, and the Bulls. Collins had a good rapport with Jordan, but it sounds like it was the exact opposite with Pippen.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference