Shaquille O’Neal has never minced his words, so if he says something, he means it. With that said, Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen better never say he was a greater player than Michael Jordan in front of the Diesel.
Pippen has been going after Jordan in interviews and his book as his way of getting back at MJ for how ESPN’s The Last Dance docuseries turned out. In his book, the seven-time All-Star wrote that he was a better teammate than the five-time MVP. He also told GQ that he was as good of a player as Black Jesus was.
During his podcast, The Big Podcast with Shaq, O’Neal was asked to talk about the Jordan-Pippen dynamic by former NFL player Spice Adams, and when Nischelle Turner jumped in and stated that Pippen said he was better than Jordan, O’Neal had a hilarious reaction.
Shaquille O’Neal: I’ll punch Scottie Pippen if he says he’s better than Michael Jordan
Pippen never said he was better than Jordan. He said he was a better teammate and as good as him. O’Neal knows that Pippen would never claim he was a superior player, which is what he told Turner.
However, if Pippen ever does say anything like that in front of O’Neal, Shaq plans to punch him.
“He didn’t say that,” O’Neal said. “He never said that. If that man say that in front of me, I’mma hit him right in his esophagus. Bro, do not finish that sentence. He’s trying to, well, I don’t wanna put words in his mouth, I think he’s trying to sell his book.”
Jordan and Pippen won six championships together. The former won five regular-season MVPs and six Finals MVPs. The only award the latter won was the 1994 All-Star Game MVP when His Airness was playing baseball. In his book, Pippen said, “For once, it was nice to win something of my own instead of watching Michael walk off with another trophy.”
O’Neal and Kobe Bryant didn’t always get along on the Los Angeles Lakers. However, they won three championships together. It was assumed that Jordan and Pippen were the complete opposite of O’Neal and Bryant and never had beef with each other. However, that’s not the case anymore.
Scottie Pippen ripped Michael Jordan for being a bad teammate
In The Last Dance, Jordan made it a point to show viewers that the Bulls were successful because he got on guys and was a carnivorous leader. As his way of retaliating to the docuseries, Pippen wrote that Jordan wasn’t a good teammate in his book.
“I was a much better teammate than Michael ever was,” Pippen wrote. “Ask anyone who played with the two of us. I was always there with a pat on the back or an encouraging word, especially after he put someone down for one reason or another. I helped the others to believe in and stop doubting themselves. In the doc, Michael attempted to justify the occasions in which he berated a teammate in front of the group. He felt these guys needed to develop the toughest to get past the NBA’s more physical teams. Seeing again how poorly Michael treated his teammates, I cringed, as I did back then.”
O’Neal and Bryant traded jabs through the media when they were teammates on the Lakers. Jordan and Pippen never did, but now the latter is holding nothing back about the former since he’s upset with The Last Dance.
The Arkansas native will never be viewed on the same level as Superman, who is the NBA’s all-time leader in points per game. O’Neal is aware of how special Pippen was on both ends of the floor. However, he doesn’t want or expect to hear anything about the small forward being better than Jordan.
Pippen never said anything negative about Jordan before The Last Dance came out in April 2020. The docuseries clearly rubbed him the wrong way. As for O’Neal, he had many controversial moments with his partner in crime on the Lakers.
Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant feud was intense
O’Neal and Bryant are one of the best duos in NBA history. However, they also had an intense feud.
In 1998, O’Neal was reportedly jealous of Bryant’s jersey sales and accused the Black Mamba of playing selfish basketball. Later on, Bryant complained about O’Neal being out of shape and not working hard enough in practice. The Lakers were still able to three-peat during all of this.
However, the relationship reached a boiling point after LA lost to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 Finals. Bryant faced rape accusations and didn’t receive much support from O’Neal, who was traded to the Miami Heat. O’Neal took some shots at Bryant in a few of his rap songs, while Bean was motivated to win a ring without the big fella.
O’Neal won the 2006 championship with the Heat, while Bryant won two more rings with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010. The Hall of Famers ended up squashing their beef and even did an interview on NBA TV together.
It will be interesting to see if Jordan and Pippen talk after what the latter has written about the former. It has been undoubtedly sad for Bulls fans to see the two best players in franchise history not be on good terms.