Scottie Pippen's Diss of Michael Jordan for LeBron James Was Personal

Darrell HorwitzSenior Writer IIJune 2, 2011

MIAMI, FL - MAY 22:  Former Chicago Bull Scottie Pippen looks on as the Chicago Bulls play against the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 22, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Scottie Pippen's slap at Michael Jordan last week refuses to die, as former NBA great Kareem Abdul Jabbar got in his two cents, giving props to Wilt Chamberlain as the greatest scorer the game has ever seen.

I'm not sure if he was talking about on the court or off, but that's not why I decided to enter this fray.

What so many people are wondering is why Pippen (a 'Robin' to Jordan's 'Batman') would suddenly forget just how good the guy he played next to for so many years was.

Was he so overcome by LeBron James' heroics against the Bulls that it blinded him to the obvious, or was it something else?

Calling Jordan the "greatest scorer," but stating LeBron "may be the greatest player," has brought up countless debates as people try to figure out what he was thinking and why he would say something like that.

There are those who say he played with him, so who better to make that determination?

Having watched Pippen's entire career with the Bulls, from the time he came in as a draft day trade with Seattle, I think I have the answer.

Jordan was a global icon. He made more money off the court than on. Nobody hated the Bulls, even fans of their opponents, because everyone loved Michael Jordan.

Can you name another star in any sport who has had that affect on people?

Jordan was handsome and beloved worldwide, while Pippen was always a second banana.

Think of a younger sibling who looked up to his older brother—he was always better than him, no matter what he did. He did better in school, was the star athlete, got all the girls, and every teacher compared them to one another in class.

You would probably be jealous too, wouldn't you? Well, that's Scottie Pippen.

Pippen came to the Bulls as a relative unknown from Central Arkansas. He was long and athletic, but far from a finished product.

He was like a young colt who couldn't get his legs under him, until his trainer (Jordan) took it upon himself to develop him into an asset that could help achieve his goals.

Jordan was tough to play with. In practice, he once punched Steve Kerr because he didn't like the way he was playing.

He had high standards, and it was hard to live up to them. A superstar athlete doesn't understand why others can't be like him, because he only sees things through his own eyes.

There was no dancing on the sidelines for Jordan like there was for LeBron. The only dancing Jordan would do would be on your grave. He was a stone-cold killer on the court.

You have to be born with that gene, and he was.

Whether through tough love or not, Pippen matured under his tutelage, finally becoming the sidekick Jordan needed to get to the next level.

But he was not Jordan because he couldn't be.

Michael Jordan never had migraines that caused him to sit out like Pippen did against the "Bad Boy" Detroit Pistons.

He was never intimidated by Xavier McDaniel of the New York Knicks like Pippen was. McDaniel was dogging Scottie until big brother Mike went nose-to-nose with him and mouthed a word into the TV camera that rhymed with "luck".

I don't know if Pippen was embarrassed, but wouldn't you be if somebody always had to fight your battles for you?

Would you possibly resent that person?

Everybody wanted to "Be like Mike," not "No tippin Pippin," a reputation he acquired from being frugal with a dollar.

Despite winning six championships, Pippen was always remembered for those 1.8 seconds when he refused to go into a game when the last shot was not set up for him.

Jordan was remembered for what should have been his last shot, standing and posing after the ball swished through the net to beat Utah for his final championship.

Earlier in his career when Pippen was worried about a bad back, he signed a long-term contract for security reasons.

Shortly after signing the contract Bull's Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf told him not to sign because he wouldn't be happy with it down the line; Pippen cried to the media about how he was taken advantage of by the Bulls and wanted to renegotiate. 

Jordan, meanwhile, had signed a seven year, $25 million dollar contract early in his career, which he held to despite being vastly underpaid. While other teams were ripping up Magic, Bird, and Isiah's contracts and giving them new ones, the Bulls never offered Michael spit.

He never complained about it because he was a man of his word, so he honored it.

Honor is not a word in Pippen's vocabulary.

I remember him saying in the past that he was more responsible for the Bull's six championships than Jordan was. That was confirmed this afternoon on the Waddle and Silvy Show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago.

Noted Bull's writer and author of Jordan Rules, Sam Smith, said that he was flabbergasted by a comment from Pippen at an All-Star Game some years back.

According to Smith, Pippen said, "Most people would have wanted me on their team instead of Michael Jordan because I could do so many more things."

Yes he said it! He bit the hand that fed him—the guy who turned him into a superstar.

You don't think practicing with Jordan everyday and learning from him turned Pippen into the player he became? Think again.

He wanted to "Be like Mike" but he wasn't, and he resented the attention Jordan received.

He was pretty lucky though.

Did you ever hear of Olden Polynice? He was the guy who was traded for Pippen.

Pippen would have been the guy you never heard of if that trade hadn't been made.


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