Michael Jordan was ‘a horrible player’, says Scottie Pippen

(CNN) — Between 1990 and 1998, the Chicago Bulls won six NBA championships, arguably the longest streak in North American sports history. In fact, the only two years the Bulls didn’t win the title was when Michael Jordan tried his hand at baseball.

The streak was spearheaded by Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, but that level of success wouldn’t have been possible without a complementary number 2, the Robin to his Batman, which in this case was Scottie Pippen.

The key roles played by “His Airness” and Pippen in the Chicago hit were prominently featured in Netflix’s “The Last Dance,” the critically acclaimed documentary series detailing Jordan’s tenure in the franchise, particularly his final year with the team in the 1997/98 season.

However, Pippen described Jordan as a “horrible player” speaking on former Bulls teammate Stacey King’s “Gimme the Hot Sauce” podcast on Friday.

“I watched Michael Jordan play before he came to the Bulls. You guys watched him play… He was horrible to play with. It was all one-on-one, shooting bad shots. All of a sudden, we became a team and we started winning. Everybody they forgot who he was. He was a player who wasn’t really at the top of his game. He was a scorer.”

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Pippen and Jordan look on during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks on January 17, 1997. Credit: Noren Trotman/NBAE/Getty Images

Jordan played three seasons with the Bulls before Pippen was signed by Chicago. In the 1986/87 season, Jordan averaged 37.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.9 steals and 1.5 blocks per game.

Pippen seemed to double down on his comments and his own impact on the league a day after his appearance on the podcast in an Instagram post featuring a photo of himself from his younger days accompanied by the caption: “From humble beginnings to 6 championships, 2 gold medals, Hall of Fame and leading the Bulls franchise with the most playoff wins. Here’s to the unsung heroes… Cheers!”

In the interview with King’s podcast, Pippen also lavished praise on Lakers star LeBron James, the player many debate is Jordan’s equal, if not superior.

“LeBron will be the best statistician to ever play basketball,” Pippen said. “And there’s no comparison to him. None. So does that make him the best player ever?”

Hall of Famer Pippen hasn’t been afraid to express his feelings towards Jordan in the past either.

Shortly after “The Last Dance” premiered, Pippen said he was “just a prop” in the 10-part docuseries.

“They glorified Michael Jordan without enough praise for me and my proud teammates,” Pippen wrote in his memoir, “Unguarded.” “Michael deserved a lot of the blame. The producers had given him editorial control of the final product. The documentary could not have been published any other way. He was the lead and the director.”

He added: “Even in the second episode, which focused for a time on my difficult upbringing and unlikely path to the NBA, the narrative returned to MJ and his determination to win. I was nothing more than a prop. His ‘best’ all-time teammate,’ he’d call me. He couldn’t have been more condescending if he’d tried.”

“Each episode was the same: Michael on a pedestal, his supporting teammates smaller, the message was no different than when he referred to us then as his ‘supporting cast.’ From season to season, we always received little to no credit. that we won, but most of the criticism when we lost”.

“Michael could shoot 6-for-24 from the field, commit five turnovers, and he was still, in the minds of the media and the public, the Jordan who doesn’t make mistakes… Now, here I was, in the middle of My 50s, 17 years after my last game, watching us get degraded once again. Living through it the first time was insulting enough.”

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Pippen and Jordan try to stop Kobe Bryant in a game in February 1998. Credit: Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images

Jordan had not previously commented on Pippen’s anger at him, but according to sportswriter Jackie MacMullan on the “Hoop Collective” podcast after a chat the two had for his podcast, Jordan seemed surprised by the recent remarks.

“I don’t think he was particularly thrilled with the aftermath of ‘The Last Dance’ and some of the stuff that played out for him,” MacMullan said. “I think some of them threw him off a bit, really.”

CNN contacted the Charlotte Hornets, the team that Jordan owns, to offer him the right of reply.

Pippen’s recent comments mark a departure from statements he’s made in the past about Jordan vs. James comparisons.

“Michael Jordan has been the greatest to ever put on a shoe and play in our game. There’s no question about it,” Pippen said in 2018 on ESPN.

“I’m always asked to compare him to LeBron. I try to make the best of it. But really, the comparison should never be made. They both play two different positions. The way LeBron James plays, Michael Jordan was never asked to play like that. because I took that spot. I was the point guard. I was the facilitator. Michael Jordan was a scorer. He was a defenseman. He played as complete as LeBron James when he needed to. But he was asked to score and he was great at that.”

“And there is no game in which I would take LeBron James over Michael Jordan. Not if I’m trying to win. I’m not going to give up my teammate with whom I won six championships and go fishing in a pond thinking that I’m going to catch a bigger and better fish.”

2023-05-30 17:19:00
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