Michael Jordan may have lobbied for Jerry Krause to draft other players, but he ultimately stuck around and propped Scottie Pippen up.
It should come as no big surprise to Michael Jordan and Bulls fans that Scottie Pippen wasn’t MJ’s first choice. Pippen had great length and a good skillset, but he was exceedingly raw for a 5h pick.
The Bulls would need him to work wonders on his game in order to propel themselves to a title. With Michael Jordan on the squad, motivation was never going to be a problem. But not every MJ teammate can exude his same competitive streak and spirit right off the bat.’
Scottie Pippen had a few back issues in his first 2 years in the NBA. He underwent a disk surgery to relieve himself of nagging back pains after his first NBA season.
However, Pippen admits that it was his work ethic rather than his fitness issues that held him back.
Scottie Pippen expresses gratitude to Michael Jordan for believing in his talent as a Bulls youngster
Speaking to Roland Lazenby, who wrote a comprehensive Michael Jordan biography in 2015, Pippen revealed that he didn’t have the best attitude towards basketball in his rookie and sophomore NBA years:
“My first year or two, I admit that I messed around a lot. I partied, enjoyed my wealth and didn’t take basketball as seriously as I should have. I’m sure a lot of rookies did the same thing I did. You’re not used to the limelight or being put in a great situation financially.”
It’s this candor in his attitude that probably reassured Michael Jordan that he could make a star out of Scottie. His Airness said this to Lazenby while interviewing for ‘The Life’:
“Even though his (Scottie Pippen) body wan’t there, you could see signs. As an open-court player, he was so much like Dr. J.”
“He’d get the ball on the break with those long strides and next thing you know, he’s at the basket. I think it took people by surprise to see how quickly he progressed and how his body responded to the style of play.”