As part of the 90s Chicago Bulls powerhouse, Scottie Pippen helped amass six championship rings during the team’s legendary run. Along with being one of the greatest winners in NBA history, he is also a two-time Hall of Fame inductee – an iconic career that was not without its share of tough times.
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Pippen restated a surprising accusation about former Bulls’ coach, Phil Jackson. During a previous interview with GQ, he said race was a factor when it came to the game, alleging Phil Jackson gave Toni Kukoc the final shot in a playoff match because he was white.
He isn’t shying away from the claims of racism. In fact, during a conversation with Dan Patrick, Pippen confirmed that he really did think there was some prejudice at play.
“I don’t think it’s a mystery, you need to read between the fine lines.” He told Patrick. “It was my first year playing without Michael Jordan, why wouldn’t I be taking that last shot?” Pippen said in a previous interview. “I been through all the ups and downs, the battles with the Pistons and now you gonna insult me and tell me to take it out? I thought it was a pretty low blow. I felt like it was an opportunity to give [Kukoc] a rise. It was a racial move to give him a rise. After all I’ve been through with this organization, now you’re gonna tell me to take the ball out and throw it to Toni Kukoc? You’re insulting me. That’s how I felt.”
In recent years, the typically soft-spoken Pippen has become more vocal about his feelings toward the NBA and its top players. Recently, comments aimed at Kevin Durant during an interview resulted in a some very interesting Twitter dialogue.
Pippen suggested the Brooklyn Nets star has a long way to go before he’s a true team leader.
“Guys that I played against, Mark Jackson, those kind of guys, they have that level of respect. They don’t like to be singled out as a team that Michael Jordan beat. Naw. Michael Jordan didn’t beat them. The Chicago Bulls beat them. The Chicago Bulls were the better team. It’s not an individual game, you can’t go into basketball and beat nobody with an individual record. And I used this example of what happened to Kevin Durant just the other day: this is the first time we’ve ever really seen Kevin Durant have to be the man and bring the team home. We ain’t never really had to see that because he’s had [Russell] Westbrook, Steph Curry, Klay [Thompson]. He’s been beating people, definitely in Golden State, by committee. With a team. He did that, but that team already knew how to win without KD. But you put KD in Brooklyn, and Kyrie [Irving] gets hurt and James Harden ain’t that guy, now KD not only has to score for them but also make plays for them. And this is no knock to KD, but they asked me, “Has he surpassed LeBron James?” And my answer was: LeBron James knows team basketball better than KD.”
In response to a fan tweeting out portions of the interview in where Pippen compared Durant to LeBron James, KD shared his thoughts with unflinching precision.
“Didn’t the great Scottie Pippen refuse to go in the game for the last second shot because he was in his feelings his coach drew up the play for a better shooter??” KD tweeted.
In another tweet response, KD wrote, “This guy Scott also wanted to enjoy his summer so he chose to rehab during the season lol yo @ScottiePippen THEY FOLLOWED PHIL, NOT YOU!!!”
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