Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen is one of the greatest players in NBA history. His elite play, both on offense and defense, helped the Bulls win six championships in the ’90s and earned him a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
However, Pippen did have several controversial moments during his legendary career with the Bulls, with the biggest one coming on May 13, 1994, against the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs. The All-Star small forward didn’t go into the game on the final possession of regulation in Game 3 with the score tied at 102 since Phil Jackson called a play for Toni Kukoc to take the game-winning shot.
The other contentious act Pippen performed with the Bulls occurred on January 24, 1995. It happened at the United Center against the San Antonio Spurs, and the do-it-all swingman was ripped to shreds for it.
Scottie Pippen threw a chair on the court
In January 1995, the Bulls hosted the Spurs at the United Center. They entered the game with a record of 20-19, while San Antonio was 22-14.
Michael Jordan was still retired from basketball, so Pippen was the Bulls’ leader. However, he didn’t act like one against the Spurs and embarrassed himself on national television by throwing a chair on the court from the bench. Referee Joe Crawford called Pippen for a technical foul while the Spurs had the ball, and the Bulls forward wasn’t happy about it.
Pippen charged at Crawford and had to be held back by B.J. Armstrong and Luc Longley. He was ejected from the game and was visibly angry. After he threw a chair on the court, he kicked a few things on his way to the locker room and gave Crawford one final death stare.
Pippen’s ejection proved to be costly, as the Bulls lost to the Spurs by only two points. Had Pippen not lost his cool, Chicago may have been able to win. However, he wasn’t mature enough to keep his anger under control.
Former Bulls head coach Doug Collins was one of the broadcasters during the Bulls-Spurs game. He was disappointed by what he saw from Pippen, but it was his partner who called out the future Hall of Famer.
Scottie Pippen got called out by TV commentator and slapped by NBA
Collins called Pippen’s ejection a “bad play” since he thought the Bulls star should have understood how important he was to the team and acted more maturely. His partner in the TV booth took it a step further by saying, “That is one thing Scottie Pippen does not need to do considering the circumstances. You don’t need this in the league.”
Pippen was ejected against the Los Angeles Clippers on December 27, 1994. The Bulls lost that game, and Collins would have thought his former player would learn from his mistake. But, sadly, he didn’t.
Pippen’s penalty for his chair-throwing tantrum was a $6,000 fine and a one-game suspension. The Bulls lost to the Orlando Magic, 102-99, without their superstar. They blew an 11-point lead and were outscored 29-24 in the fourth quarter.
Jordan came back toward the end of the 1994-95 season. He and Pippen helped the Bulls defeat the Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the 1995 playoffs, but MJ didn’t have enough energy against the Magic in the second round. Orlando defeated Chicago in six games, but His Airness and Pippen returned with a vengeance in 1995-96.
The Bulls won the ’96 championship
Behind Jordan and Pippen, the Bulls went 72-10 in 1995-96. MJ won his fourth regular-season MVP Award, his fourth title, and fourth Finals MVP. Chicago defeated the Seattle SuperSonics in the ’96 Finals in six games.
Jordan and Pippen won two more rings in ’97 and ’98 to get to six. They are universally recognized as the greatest duo in NBA history since they went 6-0 in the Finals.
Pippen may have had some problematic moments with the Bulls, but he undoubtedly played a big part in the Bulls’ dynasty. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010 and is one of the 50 greatest players ever.