Scottie Pippen was one of the best defenders of his time during the 90s, not fearing anyone, except Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal.
Scottie Pippen faced many elite offensive players during his time in the league. From players like Penny Hardaway, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone, to even someone like John Stockton, the list goes on of future Hall of Famers who the six time NBA champion took on.
Heck, you could even argue that Pippen probably went up against Michael Jordan at some point as two probably duked out more than once during practice.
However, nobody scared Pippen the way Shaq did. You can hear him talk about ‘The Diesel’ in this video here, and how the combination of size and speed make Shaq the most dominant player.
Scottie Pippen Justifies Why Shaquille O’Neal Was The Only Player He Feared
You might think that Pippen is snubbing some very elite NBA talent when it comes to choosing players he was genuinely fearful of. However, the former Bull had some justification as to why Shaq got the nod over everyone else. He said on ESPN’s ‘The Jump”:
“It was not fun playing against Shaq. I didn’t fear too many players during my career, but Shaq’s one of those guys that I feared, and the fact you had to come down and double team on him. He had the speed, the power, the spins.”
That makes sense. Shaq had a way of bodying you on his way to rim, and then he would finish the play off with an absolutely disrespectful posterizing slam.
Pippen would further explain why Shaq was such a nightmare and mismatch.
“He was just a very difficult guy for us to defend as a team. Not for me as an individual, but I had to come down and double team. That was almost worse than guarding him because he would swing with his arms. Our whole gameplan was if you gonna double-team Shaq, you better get there before they get the ball in there because if you get there after, you’re just gonna be a part of a poster.”
What about the comparison to Michael Jordan you might be wondering? Well Pippen had an answer for that two, clearly differentiating the two in terms of Jordan being unstoppable and Shaq being dominant.
“To me, Shaq was the most dominant. I would say Michael is probably the most unstoppable, but when you talk about dominant like we used to try to stop Shaq from running like that was kinda the gameplan. Don’t let Shaq run. Don’t even think about him getting the ball; just stop him from running. He gonna beat most of the players down the court.”