Over time, sports fans come to know their favorite players. Take Scottie Pippen, for example; even if you never met the Chicago Bulls forward, you probably know all the finer details of his basketball career, not to mention a bit about his personal life. That knowledge, however, has its limits.
Scottie Pippen might be a Hall of Famer, but even that star status hasn’t made him a completely open book. In fact, everyone consistently gets one specific personal detail about the former Bulls forward wrong.
Scottie Pippen’s road to NBA stardom
Once he made it to the NBA and teamed up with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen became a household name. Before that breakthrough, though, the forward didn’t have the easiest path to stardom.
As documented by SLAM, Pippen wasn’t exactly a star in high school; he clocked in at 6-foot-1-inch tall and weighed 150 pounds. While he was more of a roleplayer than anything else, his natural talent shone through. After a strong senior, however, he caught the attention of the University of Central Arkansas’ basketball staff.
Pippen started out as an equipment manager but landed a spot on the active roster after two players quit the team. Thanks to a fortuitous growth spurt and some time in the weight room, however, he developed into a natural star. With his newfound size and his previous experience as a guard, Pippen seemed capable of doing just about anything on the court; he could rip down a rebound, dominate on the offensive end, or play lockdown defense with equal ease.
Despite playing in the NAIA rather than the NCAA, Pippen started catching the eye of NBA scouts. When the 1987 draft rolled around, the Seattle SuperSonics selected the forward with the eighth overall pick; they promptly traded him to the Chicago Bulls, however, setting the stage for one of the sport’s modern dynasties.
We’ve all been misspelling Pippen’s name without even realizing
When it comes to details about a celebrity, their name is one of the most basic facts. Despite his celebrity status, though, everyone misspells Scottie Pippen’s name.
“It’s really Scotty. But for some reason, when people see it with a y, they shorten it to Scott,” Pippen told Esquire in 2012. “That’s how they announced me at the NBA draft. Scott Pippen. What was I going to do, argue with the commissioner?”
As we saw in The Last Dance, that moment really happened. During the 1987 draft, David Stern told the world that the Seattle SuperSonics had selected Scott Pippen. While it’s not clear when the forward started using Scottie, it worked; regardless of how you spell it, the world now knows Scottie Pippen’s name.
It is worth noting, though, that one of Pippen’s sons is named Scotty Pippen Jr. He currently plays college basketball at Vanderbilt and, thanks to his famous father, is in no danger of ever being called Scott.
Scotty or not, Scottie Pippen earned his place in NBA history
No matter how you spell his first name, we can all agree on one thing: Scottie Pippen had quite the basketball career.
While Pippen didn’t exactly light the NBA on fire during his first professional season, Michael Jordan helped mold the forward into a legitimate star. His stats increased with each passing season, and he proved to be the perfect complementary player. Pippen became a capable scorer and a relentless defender; His Airness stole the show, but Pip played an invaluable role in the Bulls’ success. He also led the team during MJ’s time on the baseball diamond.
During his 17 seasons in the association, Pippen averaged 16.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game; he won six titles, made the All-Defensive team 10 times, and earned just under $110 million in total salary. Whether you call him Scott, Scotty, or Scottie Pippen, that’s quite the resume.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference