Scottie Pippen had a very volatile relationship with Michael Jordan, often being dubbed his sidekick at times despite being much more than that.
In a recent interview with GQ, Pippen sat down to discuss how his relationship with Jordan often led to feelings of animosity being displayed. After ‘The Last Dance’ aired, Pippen was especially incredulous at the way he portrayed. He knew he deserved more respect than what he had been given.
Even during the Bulls dominance in the 90’s, Jordan would often be portrayed as Batman to Pippen’s Robin. However, this wasn’t because of MJ according to Pippen.
— GQ Sports (@GQSports) June 25, 2021
Scottie Pippen Stresses The Media & Brands Constructed A Lot Of The Beef Between Him And Michael Jordan
Pippen was always one to stress the team importance when it come to the Chicago Bulls’ dominant run. He didn’t want people to think that Jordan was going out there as a one-army, but that the Chicago Bulls were collectively displaying their superiority over the rest of the league. He says,
“I was speaking more from a team standpoint. Basketball is a team game. And when you separate one individual out, then you are taking away from the sport. You’re talking about who’s the greatest player and this and that. You know, there’s really no great players in basketball. Basketball is built on great teams.”
When asked about him being the sidekick and how he felt about that moniker, Pippen had some interesting responses too. He was keen to never blame Jordan, however.
“That was the public perspective. That ain’t Michael’s fault. He wasn’t writing the articles. But it was the cheerleaders that were behind Michael Jordan that were doing whatever they can to appease him, to get his vote.”
Scottie Pippen also spoke about how certain brands had immortalized Jordan to such a degree that they had practically hoodwinked the media into falling for these same pretenses.
“Because [the media] were going through a bit of a frenzy, to some degree. They were cheerleaders…That’s how the brands portrayed him. That’s how Gatorade portrayed him, how Nike portrayed him. I don’t wanna say they tricked the media, but they controlled them. [Laughs.]”
The awe and the prospect of just simply seeing Michael Jordan was such an overwhelming feeling at the time that it led to the media driving narratives that weren’t as true as they seemed. Everyone was looking for an opportunity to get close to Jordan, and in the process, there was often some fallout.
That includes the whole construct of Scottie Pippen being a sidekick. It may or may not be true that Pippen was the greatest co-star to ever play the game, but it is definitely true that he was the perfect player to play alongside Jordan. That fact in itself makes him so much more than a sidekick.
He was a teammate, a co-star, an equal in every regard except dominance. Pippen played his role perfectly, but just because he was the second fiddle on those legendary Bulls teams, doesn’t mean we should see him solely as that.