Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan aren’t exactly on the best of terms these days. The two legendary Chicago Bulls have been engaged in a (one-sided) feud since the release of ESPN docuseries The Last Dance. Pippen didn’t mince words when revealing his displeasure with how the Emmy-winning show turned out, and he apparently hasn’t spoken to Jordan since it aired. The former small forward has chastised his former teammate off and on since 2021, though he’d been relatively quiet in recent months. That’s all changed, though, as he just claimed that Jordan is a “horrible” player. And I’m a bit confused by these comments.
The hall of famer participated in a lengthy interview with the Gimme The Hot Sauce podcast, which is hosted by former Chicago Bull Stacey King. During the discussion, King and his co-hosts began chatting about some of the greatest players to ever grace a basketball court. So they naturally asked Scottie Pippen who he believes is the true GOAT of the sport. He ultimately listed LeBron James as the best player from a statistical perspective. With that, Pippen threw shade at His Airness:
That’s an incredibly blunt assessment and, to no one’s surprise, it’s already stirring up debate across social media. Now, let’s be clear about something. Scottie Pippen is absolutely entitled to his opinion and is definitely someone who understands b-ball. (He has been dubbed one of the NBA’s 75 greatest players of all time, after all.) The former athlete also makes a good point that basketball is a team sport and that in most cases, it’s virtually impossible for a team to sustain success with only one talented player. However, I still just can’t help but scratch my head when mulling over these sentiments due to what we know about MJ and some of the things that Pippen has said in the past.
First off, few people probably wouldn’t deny that Michael Jordan is a great player, as his stats speak for themselves. Sure, during his earlier years with the Bulls, they didn’t find much success in the postseason and didn’t start getting deeper into the playoffs until other key players were drafted or signed. However, even when that team unit was established, Jordan continued to set the tone, with his on-court partner helping to do so as well.
What also confuses me is that despite his critiques and previous claim that MJ “ruined” basketball, Scottie Pippen has praised his skills amid the feud. The seven-time all star admitted that he would indeed play with Air Jordan, and “only” him, if given the opportunity. Even later in this most recent chat, Pippen said that he would place Jordan in his Mount Rushmore of NBA greats. In all fairness, someone’s opinion can always change, but the contradictions here are somewhat staggering.
A number of notable people haven’t been all that high on the former player’s commentary over the past year or so. Charles Barkley clapped back at him, claiming that the Bull was just “big-game hunting” in order to sell his memoir at the time. And when NBA coach Stan Van Gundy also weighed in, he said that he was “sad to see a great player so bitter.”
There may be some fans out there who share that last sentiment on Scottie Pippen. Personally, I prefer to stay diplomatic and respect the man for being honest while sharing his thoughts. I’ll also say this, though. Now that he’s made these comments, I think the chances of him reconciling with Michael Jordan are now slimmer than they’ve ever been.