Scottie Pippen may have turned 56 today, but for players like Kobe Bryant on the come-up, he continues to be the defender to look up to.
The Bulls icon was undoubtedly one of the best defenders the game has ever seen. Once he locked you down, there were very slim chances for you to drive or shoot or even pass the ball.
Pippen’s biography on the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame’s website reads “the multidimensional Pippen ran the court like a point guard, attacked the boards like a power forward, and swished the nets like a shooting guard”.
That’s 3 players in one guy. Pippen and Jordan on the same team to start the 90s meant, it would rain rings in Chicago, and it surely did. They won 3 Championships in 3 seasons from 1991-93.
Bulls lead by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, were the league’s defensive juggernauts. Then they added a 2 time Defensive Player of the Year in Dennis Rodman to that team, for their second 3-peat in 8 years.
The three of them shared a total of 27 NBA All-Defensive team selections. Yikes, nobody could go past that wall for obvious reasons.
Young Kobe Bryant gushes about Scottie Pippen and his defensive acumen
For rookies it was their “welcome to the NBA moment” whenever they played Pippen. It was the same for Kobe as well.
“If I could learn how to cut angles off like Scottie, being aggressive on the defense , it will take my game and the team that drafts me to entirely different level.”
That was Kobe Bryant breaking down Pippen’s defensive genius.
His ability to suffocate players on the defensive end was humbling to some and inspiration for others. No one was spared by Scottie.
Ironically, he never won a Defensive Player of the Year Award unlike his fellow Bulls teammates Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman, but he did outscore them in All-Defensive team selections. Scottie was in 10 NBA All-Defensive teams.
He didn’t just attack players on defensive side of the court though.