Scottie Pippen was the most liked player on the Chicago Bulls roster. According to his teammates, Pippen was more encouraging than Michael Jordan.
The Chicago Bulls would have never won 6 NBA championships without the contribution of Scottie Pippen. The Hall of Famer played the perfect Robin to Michael Jordan’s Batman. The Bulls roster felt Pippen was more approachable than Jordan, who was on Mount Rushmore at the time.
Post their first 3-peat, MJ would retire from the game of basketball, giving Pippen the reins. Nonetheless, the Bulls forward would excel in his new role as the leader in the locker room. The 1993-94 season was Pippen’s first year without Jordan.
However, the 7x All-Star would help his team clinch the second seed in the eastern conference. The Bulls won 57 out of their 82 games, with Pippen averaging 22.0 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 5.6 APG, and 2.9 SPG. The elite defender was crowned the All-Star MVP and finished 3rd in league MVP voting.
Also read: “Michael Jordan led the Bulls to the top seed in the eastern conference despite Scottie Pippen missing 38 games”: The Bulls would 3-peat for the second time notwithstanding the several controversy’s surrounding the team
Pippen’s former Bulls teammates Bill Wennington and John Paxson believed Pippen was more supportive than MJ. The All-Star forward would stick up for his team on several occasions.
Former Bulls players Bill Wennington and John Paxson heap praises of Scottie Pippen.
There is no doubt that Jordan was the best player on the Bulls roster. However, his Airness had a dictatorial approach towards his teammates. It was his way of bringing out the best in his teammates.
In his 2004 memoir, Wennington sung praises of Pippen emphasizing how great of a teammate he was.
“As a teammate, you could not ask for anyone better than Scottie, and that includes Michael,” Wennington wrote, via Chicago sports historian Jack M Silverstein. “He had taken the role of a leader on the floor, and he was defending his decisions to Phil in our film meeting.”
Jordan had no room for error, being a perfectionist. His Airness would bludgeon his teammates in the smallest of botch-ups. On the contrary, Pippen would come across as very encouraging and supportive.
Bulls point guard John Paxson believed Pippen bought more balance to the team. The Hall of Famer was very supportive as a teammate.
“Pip was very much an encouraging type of teammate” and created a good balance with His Airness”
Paxson felt Pippen was much more of an approachable teammate than Jordan.
“Scottie was the type of guy where if you missed two or three in a row, he was going to encourage you to keep shooting,” Paxson said. “He was going to tell you that I’m going to find you if you’re open. I think the balance of the way the two of them dealt with teammates was a really healthy thing for us.”
It’s no secret that MJ was hard to play with, the 10x scoring champion adopted an autocratic approach towards his teammates. It was probably his way of getting the best out of his teammate, which may have not been the best way.