"Michael can't do nothing but sit back and watch me take the last shot," Pippen said.
"I realized I was in a great situation playing in Chicago, playing
alongside Michael," Pippen said. "I also knew it could've been different
for me, but I enjoyed the path I took. I was able to share that
spotlight with him. That's the way I wanted it to be and the way I
"That's a guy who did it the right way," former Jazz power
forward Karl Malone said. "Look, we're all big fans, but we don't tell
other great players that until after the fact. We're sure not going to
say it while we're playing against them.
"I remember that year
Scottie played when Michael retired (1993-94), and Scottie led the team
in every statistical category. That's when I said to myself, 'Wow.' I
always thought the world of him, but my respect went to another level
"The subtle things that he did so well-defensively helping his teammates, recovering out to guys offensively, making plays, being unselfish-those are things that teammates always recognize and noticed," John Paxson said of Scottie Pippen. "You always felt like Scottie had your back."
"It was the first time he was in a position of leadership more on his
own than any other time. Nothing really changed. What people don't
remember about that year was that we got off to a real slow start.
Scottie was hurt at the beginning of the year and we were 4-7 coming
back at the end of an early trip. At that point, we were kind of
disjointed because we were trying to incorporate [Toni] Kukoc into the
lineup. I had a good view because I was hurt for most of the year. It
was at that point that I think Scottie got in his mind, 'You know what?
This is my team. I've got to lead.' And he did. It's really remarkable
when you think about it. 55 wins is terrific. It became a 70-game season
because we started off 4-7. That was really when mentally it kicked in
for him. We always knew he could do it. I think the one thing I found
interesting that year was that statistically, things didn't change much
for him. He didn't look at it like he had to take on everything, and
that's where teammates loved him. He had his best statistical year, but
he found a way to make his teammates feel a part of it, reward them when
they were open, and do all those things that he had done before, but
not just in a little different role. So many people had written us off
that year because we didn't have Michael. Everyone said that we were
going to win 25-30 games. Scottie kind of said, 'Nope, it's not going to
happen.' He led us to 55."
Pippen and Jordan will always be tied together, and Michael will get most of the credit forever, and as the best player of all time, that's fair. However, Scottie will always be my favorite of the two players.
They shared many similar qualities, work ethic, passion, basketball IQ, defensive intensity, offensive versatility. Other than Jordan being a more dominant offensive player, the greatest difference between the two was how they interacted with teammates. Jordan always barking at you, breaking you down, pushing you through challenging you. Scottie always encouraging you, helping you, pushing you through positive feedback.
We've all worked with people using the Jordan way and the Pippen way, and while I think the Jordan way was necessary for the Bulls to win as much as they did, the Pippen way was even more necessary to stop Jordan from burning everyone out. I probably wouldn't last a week working a Jordan type, but I would have loved to work with a Scottie Pippen. Everyone would.
Scottie; Congratulations, I can't wait to see your speech, and to have some time to sit back and appreciate how great of a player you were. For those who need some reminding: