However, Pippen is singing a different tune about Jackson these days, calling the Hall of Famer a “racist” during a wide-ranging interview with Dan Patrick on the Dan Patrick Show.
Scottie Pippen: Phil Jackson is a racist
During Game 3 of the 1994 Eastern Conference semifinals against the New York Knicks, Jackson drew up a game-winning play for Toni Kukoc. Pippen recently told GQ that it was a “racial move” by Jackson to give Kukoc the final shot instead of him.
When Patrick and Pippen discussed the latter’s quote to GQ, the Bulls icon ended up calling Jackson a racist. It was a controversial statement by Pippen that has been making the rounds all over social media.
However, back in 2016, the championship-winning coach did say something that angered LeBron James since the NBA superstar interpreted his quote as having a racial connotation.
LeBron James ripped Phil Jackson for referring to business partners as ‘posse’
In 2016, Jackson characterized James’ business associates as a “posse.” LeBron fired back by saying he lost all respect for the man who coached his favorite player ever in Jordan.
“I had nothing but respect for him as a coach for what he was able to do. Obviously, he was at the helm of my favorite player of all time and also being there growing up and watching him with the Lakers, but I got nothing for him,” James said. “It just sucks that now at this point having one of the biggest businesses you can have both on and off the floor, having a certified agent in Rich Paul, having a certified business partner in Maverick Carter that’s done so many great business [deals], that the title for young African-Americans is the word ‘posse.'”
Pippen was with Jackson behind closed doors for so many years in the ’90s, so he probably heard some contentious things said. After all, the former Knicks forward does have a history of making racially ignorant statements.
Is Scottie Pippen right about Phil? Scoop Jackson may have caught on before a lot of people
In October 1999, Phil was quoted as saying, “I don’t mean to say [that] as a snide remark toward a certain population in our society, but they have a limitation of their attention span, a lot of it probably due to too much rap music going in their ears and coming out their being.”
Scoop Jackson, a legendary writer for ESPN, documented the aforementioned quote while also bringing attention to this one: “I think it’s important that the players take their end of it, get out of the prison garb and the thuggery aspect of basketball that has come along with hip-hop music in the last seven or eight years.”
These are certainly damaging old quotes from Jackson. Pippen, who was thought to have a good relationship with his former coach, also blasted Jackson for covering Bryant in a negative light in his 2004 book, The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul.
“I think he tried to expose Kobe in a way that he shouldn’t have,” Pippen told Patrick. “You’re the head coach, and you’re the guy that sits in the locker room and tells the players, ‘This is a circle, and everything stays within the circle because that’s what team is about.’ But you, as the head coach, open it up? And now you go out, and you try to belittle, at that time, probably one of the greatest players in the game?”
Pippen is clearly not holding back during his media tour while he promotes the launch of his new bourbon and memoir. It will be fascinating to see what else the Hall of Famer reveals in the next couple of weeks.