Scottie Pippen is long remembered as Michael Jordan’s sidekick, but all-time great head coach Phil Jackson called him the best all-round player in the NBA.
Jordan was the face of the NBA during the 90s as he led the Bulls to six Finals wins in the decade. Mike will always be remembered as the best player from the Chicago Bulls during that era, but make no mistake, Scottie Pippen was just as important as Jordan was to those Bulls teams.
Jordan was the “go get it”, score at will star while Pippen did a little bit of everything including the dirty work that often goes unnoticed on stat sheets and box scores. This is exactly what Phil Jackson referred to in an interview where he talked about Pippen’s role on the Bulls.
Scottie Pippen is 6-0 in the Finals.
If Pippen can’t get respect for having 6 rings as the No.2 then NO ONE can have respect for being the No.2 pic.twitter.com/OsnTNBBzRp
— LeBron’s IQ (@emanuelgodina) June 28, 2021
Scottie Pippen Was More Well Rounded Than Michael Jordan Says Phil Jackson
Jordan was perhaps the most dominant scorer the NBA had ever seen in his time. In fact, Jordan holds the NBA record for highest career points per game at 30.12.
However, when it came to rebounding, passing the ball, shooting, and defense, Pippen may have had the GOAT beat. According to Phil Jackson, Pippen played a very well-rounded role for the Bulls, covering up several aspects of the game that Jordan didn’t necessarily look out for.
This was, of course, in no way meant to undermine Jordan, but it was meant to be praising the often overlooked Bulls forward.
Phil Jackson says Scottie Pippen is the greatest all-around player in the NBA (1995)
“No one can score like Michael. But scoring is not the end-all. Scottie is the complete package.” pic.twitter.com/suIzr25lDU
— OLDSKOOLBBALL (@Oldskoolbball1) June 28, 2021
You can hear the interviewer sound shocked that Jackson would even make such a statement. How could anyone be held in a greater regard than Michael Jordan? Well, Jackson’s point is entirely valid. Pippen routinely averaged more assists and rebounds per game than Jordan during their six championships.
However, Jordan wasn’t too far behind either. During both players’ careers with the Bulls, Pippen averaged 6.7 rebounds per game and 5.3 assists per game to Jordan’s 6.3 and 5.4. Of course, Jordan’s assists numbers are a little higher due to the time he played without Pippen, but still the gap isn’t as big as it seems.
So, Phil Jackson’s statement may have been a little skewed because Jordan was still doing everything possible for the Bulls to win. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who did more, but more so that we respect the legacies of both players. Phil Jackson’s interview can be found here.