I was in the car the other morning when the news of Ed McMahon's death broke.
Of course I was listening to sports radio, and the topic of greatest sidekicks got brought up because, even though McMahon did so much on his own, he will still forever be remembered as Johnny Carson's sidekick.
People were mentioning different teammates across all sports. Pippen and Michael Jordan were mentioned several times, but there wasn't an overwhelming response, as I thought there would be.
Some people weren't even mentioning them as the top basketball combo, which I guess is debatable, but I feel there is no question Pippen and MJ were the top.
Just like there is some debate whether or not Jordan is the greatest ever, I understand people will disagree with this. I feel this argument will also show just how great MJ was.
Both Jordan and Pippen were put on the top-50 of all time list the NBA came out with a few years ago. While looking at how great Pippen was, it just shows how much better Jordan was because of him.
While looking at Pippen's stats, I subtract the years that he wasn't with the Bulls, because he was asked to do very different things and was not asked to be the first or second option on any of those teams.
Pippen played 12 years with the Bulls during the "Jordan Era" and, for the most part, two of those years were spent without Jordan.
During those two years without Jordan, Pippen put up huge numbers. He averaged 22 and 21.4 points while grabbing 8.7 and 8.1 rebounds, dishing out 5.6 and 5.3 assists, and averaged 2.9 steals both seasons—and these were his per game stats.
His best season was probably during the second championship when he averaged 21 points, seven assists, and 7.7 boards per game. These numbers might not seem that great given that it is basically what LeBron has been putting up, but almost 20 years ago, these were huge.
Pippen was on the first Dream Team and was easily a top-10 player of his era. What this really shows is how good Jordan was when Pippen was, without a doubt, his sidekick, while other teammates are debatable.
For example, who was better between: Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, John Stockton and Karl Malone, and Magic Johnson and Kareem Adbul-Jabar? It will always be Jordan first and Pippen second, but that shouldn't make him a lesser player in the historical view.