February 21, 2024

Scottie Pippen gets salty, claims Michael Jordan was horrible player at start of his career

Scottie Pippen gets salty, claims Michael Jordan was horrible player at start of his career
Associated Press

The Last Dance documentary really did a number on Scottie Pippen.

The six-time NBA champion and Chicago Bulls legend weighed in on the greatest player of all time debate and he wasn't kind at all to his former teammate Michael Jordan.

Instead, he gave his flowers to four-time NBA champion and all-time scoring king LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

"LeBron will be the greatest statistical guy to ever play the game of basketball. And there's no comparison to him. None," Pippen told Stacey King's Gimme The Hot Sauce Podcast on Friday.

"Does that make him the greatest player to ever play the game? I'll leave that up for a debate."

Then Pippen lashed out against his former teammate, who is generally considered one of the greatest players of the game.

"I've seen Michael Jordan before I came to play with the Bulls. He's a horrible player. He was horrible to play with."

There was a lot of pent-up emotion from Pippen following The Last Dance documentary, which revolved around Jordan and his final season with the Bulls.

Pippen reportedly told Jordan he "wasn't too pleased" with the documentary, calling it inaccurate. He doubled down on it during the podcast.

"I was a little disappointed. I was more disappointed with what the NBA did," Pippen said. "It turned out that the NBA sort of turned their backs on the players and pretty much sold the video to Michael or gave it to him."

The eight-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member and 1995 NBA steals leader reiterated that the Bulls' success didn't come from Jordan alone.

"One of the things that really came through loud and clear was how mean and cruel Jordan could be to his teammates," he said.

"The success of the Bulls came from a team. It didn't come from Michael Jordan. It didn't come from him being critical of other players. If anything, that discouraged players because no other player wants to be talked down to, belittled, or even made fun of to some way and I feel like those were a lot of things that were brought out."

But was MJ horrible though?

In his rookie year, he averaged 28.2 points from a 51.5% field goal percentage. His sophomore average was his second lowest at 22.7 points from a 45.7% field goal percentage. MJ did win 1985 Rookie of the Year, was part of the NBA All-Stars, and got named to the All-NBA Second Team.

When Pippen joined the Bulls in 1987, MJ's average was at 40.4 points from a 53.5% field goal percentage. He became the 1987 scoring champion and was part of the All-NBA 1st Team. The year after that, Jordan was hailed the NBA Defensive Player of the Year as well as the steals leader.

"He's shooting bad shots. And all of a sudden, we became a team and we started winning. Everybody forgot who he was," Pippen claimed. "Winning wasn't at the top of his category. He was going after scoring titles."

"It wasn't until Phil Jackson showed up that kind of changed the menu a little but and that still took time. That wasn't in the documentary," he pointed out.

So how would Pippen rank the greatest NBA players of all time?

"There is not a greatest player," he declared. "I'm gonna put myself in there if you're gonna call out a greatest player."

"What makes Michael Jordan great? 'Cause he had the media game MVPs."

Pippen pointed out that Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic could also be considered one of the greats, noting that the two-time MVP should have been a three-time awardee but was not picked by his peers.

"LeBron James is probably one of the greatest WINNERS to ever play the game," Pippen emphasized.

"He wins. He ain't won that many championships but he's been in the finals. Does that make him the greatest player to ever play the game? No."

Pippen did cede MJ's accomplishments, to a point.

"Michael Jordan probably is one of the greatest individual scorers that we've ever seen, but probably not. It's probably Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar]."

Safe to say there would be no epic reunion of this Chicago Bulls team anytime soon.

"You've been around Michael. You've been around Phil. You know their egos are huge," Pippen said during the podcast. "I don't bow down to people like that."