Jordan and Pippen: What If Their Paths Never Crossed?

Tyler RoseContributor IMarch 31, 2009

6 May 1997:  Guard Michael Jordan #23 and forward Scottie Pippen #33 of the Chicago Bulls stand on the court during a playoff game against the Atlanta Hawks at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bulls won the game 100-97.   Mandatory Credit: Jon

When you think Chicago Bulls, you think Michael Jordan.

When you think championships, you think Micheal Jordan.

Greatest player ever, yes, most believe that is Micheal Jordan.

But would all of those championships be possible without his supporting cast? Jordan has had the likes of Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, Toni Kucoc (in his prime), and Luc Longley. All of those players are great supporting players, all but Pippen.

Pippen was one of the key cogs to all of Jordan's championships. Pippen's defense was phenomenal. While Jordan mostly took the other team's best player, it was Pippen who would match up with opponents at multiple positions. At 6'7" he had the quickness to guard a 6' guard, and the strength to guard a 6' 10" forward/center.

Jordan provided the scoring, big moments, and key steals. But Pippen did the dirty work; scrambling for loose balls, rebounding in traffic, passing, and scoring when needed. Pippen was the ultimate partner in crime for Jordan to rely on day in and day out.

It's been said when the Bulls drafted Pippen in 1987 they thought he could be a "solid contributor." When Jordan met Pippen he saw potential and often pushed him harder than his other teammates in practices. Teaching him many defensive moves especially footwork. In four seasons, Pippen would become what Jordan had hoped, a bonified All-Star teammate.

The rest is history.

The question still lingers though.

Would Jordan have won as many championships without Pippen? Unlikely.

Would Jordan have been considered one of the best? Yes.

But year after year we see players sacrifice numbers for championships.

It just so happened Michael got the best of both worlds.