Sorry, Pippen, Jordan IS the GOAT (and You’re just a Cry Baby)
I feel bad for Scottie Pippen, I really do. He’s gone from being bitter to out-and-out delusional.
In a recent interview, Pippen called his ex-teammate Michael Jordan a “horrible player”. Not in an ironic or tongue-in-cheek way, either.
Also, he’s talking basketball not baseball here.
This started as one of those ridiculous “who is the GOAT” conversations about Michael and LaBron. I say ridiculous, yes, because comparisons of players from different eras is an inherently silly exercise. But, also because…Jordan IS the greatest, absolutely no question about it.
Pippen has been salty about this for years now…even BEFORE his ex-wife started dating one of Jordan’s sons. Seriously. That link is to a tabloid but the hook-up absolutely happened! This goes back way, way before that.
It’s clear that Pippen has always had a chip on his shoulder about MJ. It must be tough being overshadowed by, again, THE Greatest of All Time. I’m not saying Pippen wasn’t good. He was very, very good…great, even. Of course, it helps when you’re unguarded half the time because Jordan is being triple-teamed…but, I digress. Other people have dealt much better in this situation. Kevin McHale was a really great player for the Celtics in the eighties.
He just happened to play at the same time as Larry Bird (another one who gets mentioned in the “GOAT” conversation). You know, George Harrison was a really, really good songwriter. He just happened to be in the same band as Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
I don’t recall George or McHale ever feeling anything but “lucky” to have played alongside such immense talent. And make no mistake…Pippen IS the second fiddle in this scenario. He’s the Robin to Jordan’s Batman. The Garfunkel to Jordan’s Simon. The Andrew Ridgely to his George Michael.
I don’t understand why Pippen is so eaten up by this. He’s a hall-of-famer who has 6 championships. Would Pippen have been a Hall of Famer if he hadn’t played with Jordan? Who knows? He definitely wouldn’t have all those rings ESPECIALLY if he’d had to compete AGAINST Jordan.
What really sums this up for me are the two distinct images of both players that I still have after all these years. When I think of Jordan, I immediately think of all the times he hit a buzzer-beating game-winner. There really are too many to narrow it down, but here’s a good one…
And the enduring mental image I have of Scottie Pippen is quite different. It’s the time he pitched a hissy fit and SAT OUT the last 2 seconds of a game…because the play didn’t have him taking the shot.
It’s important for my point that you know a few things. This was the 1994 playoffs. This was during that period that Jordan had left basketball to pursue baseball (and defend the Earth from hostile cartoon aliens). This was Pippen’s first big opportunity to show what he was really made of.
And, there’s no doubt in my mind that “proving” his worth compared to Michael Jordan was part of his desire to get a chance at a game-winning shot. But here’s the thing: for all those highlights of Jordan hitting the shot, there are as many of him throwing a last-second pass to John Paxton, Steve Kerr, or BJ Armstrong. That’s right. Pippen likes to make it sound like Jordan was such a ball hog that he NEVER passed.
That’s obviously not true.
When Jordan took the shot, he usually made it. When he didn’t take the shot, he was usually double or triple-teamed and knew to kick it off to a teammate. What Jordan never, EVER did…was have a tantrum and sit on the bench pouting like a thumb-sucking baby.
Also, while he was pouting on the bench, Tony Kukoc HIT the game-winning shot. Guess who DIDN’T run out on the court to congratulate him? That’s right. The Most Jealous Man in NBA History.
Oh, one other thing: Jordan was a much better defender than Pippen. Pippen was good on D but, as with everything else, just not quite as good as Michael.