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Scottie Pippen Talks Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, More in GQ Interview

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVNovember 9, 2021

Noam Galai/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Scottie Pippen joined GQ's Tyler Tynes for an extensive interview prior to the release of his memoir, Unguarded, and opened up about a number of topics from his Hall of Fame career, including Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

While his comments about Jordan have already made headlines leading up to the release of the book, there were a number of quick-hitting answers that stood out as well.

Pippen said the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls that won 72 regular-season games should be remembered as better than the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors that won 73 regular-season games because his team won the championship.

"You can't be considered the greatest team," if you don't win a ring he said when referencing Golden State's loss to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals.

Pippen also said the New York Knicks were the team he enjoyed beating the most and his first championship in 1991 is the one he remembers the most fondly in part because the Bulls defeated Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I really idolized Magic as a player and a young kid growing up," Pippen said.

The six-time champion also said his favorite current young player is Devin Booker, he would consider coaching but likely won't so he can focus on his children and he would "win a championship in Portland" if he could do one thing differently in his career.

Yet it is the comments about Jordan that figured to stand out since he previously said he isn't particularly close with His Airness anymore and felt disrespected by The Last Dance documentary that chronicled the Bulls' final championship run because it focused so much on No. 23 and not the team.

Pippen suggested he felt like a prop while watching the documentary because it didn't glorify Hall of Famers such as himself, Dennis Rodman and Toni Kukoc and was all about elevating Jordan's legacy.

The seven-time All-Star's focus on team and not individual achievements was never clearer than when he said he would rather have a seventh championship than an MVP because "it would have been a team achievement. I don't chase individual achievements, they chase me."

Still, he said "there's no doubt about that, c'mon" when saying Jordan was the best teammate he ever played with during his career.

He also said Bryant is the one teammate he wishes he could have played alongside and appreciated the way the Laker great reached out to him for advice even after Pippen retired.

"Kobe idolized the way I played the game, the way I defended," Pippen said while calling Bryant "a great student of the game" who even asked about defending his personal idol Jordan and what Pippen would do in such a matchup.

Bryant and Pippen both played for head coach Phil Jackson, so it is not surprising the Bulls legend was an ideal person for Kobe to turn to for various advice throughout his career.

While Pippen may have felt disrespected during The Last Dance and is remembered by some as Jordan's second option on the dynasty Bulls teams, he is one of the best players in NBA history and will further explore a career that featured seven All-NBA selections, 10 All-Defensive selections and six championships in the upcoming memoir.             

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