The Chicago Bulls were one of the best NBA franchises in the history of the game during the 90s. The Bulls won six titles from 1991 to 1998 and had arguably the best player in the game in Michael Jordan.
Not only did the Bulls have Jordan, but they had Scottie Pippen, who was an essential part of the team. Pippen’s journey to the NBA was interesting, but he put in the hard work and became a superstar.
Scottie Pippen’s college career
Pippen was not heavily recruited out of high school. He did not receive any college scholarships. He would end up at a small NAIA school in his hometown of Arkansas. Pippen attended the University of Central Arkansas and enjoyed a successful collegiate career.
In today’s world, you don’t see too many players from small schools draw the attention of NBA scouts. You don’t see top draft picks coming from NAIA schools or even Division II schools. But Pippen’s performance in college led him to be named a Consensus NAIA All-American his senior year. He averaged 23.6 points, 10 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. Even though those numbers weren’t against the top NCAA schools, scouts still saw him as someone who could have success in the league.
When Pippen got to college, he did not immediately make an impact on the basketball team. His transformation in college was awe-inspiring.
Starting off as the equipment manager
When Pippen arrived at Central Arkansas, he was a member of the basketball team but was not a player. That’s right, Pippen was the equipment manager when he joined the team. He loved the game of basketball, and he always wanted to get his opportunity to showcase his talents.
He was able to get that opportunity when a basketball scholarship freed up at Central Arkansas and made the most of that opportunity. Not to mention that when Pippen came into college, he was only 6-foot-1, and by the time he left, he grew to 6-8.
The Chicago Bulls took an interest in Pippen and decided to trade up for the No. 5 pick to acquire Pippen from the Seattle Supersonics in the 1987 NBA draft.
Scottie Pippen becoming a Hall of Fame player
Scottie Pippen immediately made an impact when he came into the league. Here you had a kid from a small college in Arkansas that would become an essential part of one of the greatest teams in NBA history.
Yes, the Bulls had Michael Jordan, but Pippen was the perfect sidekick to Jordan and helped the team win many games. Two players who had different backgrounds but were able to become two of the best players in the league.
Pippen spent 17 seasons in the NBA playing for three different teams. He would go on to make numerous all-star teams and all-NBA teams as well. In 2010 he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the esteemed Dream Team, and he also was inducted for his individual accomplishments.
As a kid, Pippen loved the game of basketball, and he wanted to pursue a career out of it. He didn’t let his circumstances get in the way of anything, and he made the most out of what he was presented with.