Who's the Best?: Q&A With Scottie Pippen
Patch caught up with the Hall of Fame forward recently.
Who are the greatest players in Chicago Bulls history? Michael Jordan, of course, is No. 1. Next is Scottie Pippen.
Pippen was Jordan’s right-hand man when the Bulls dominated the 1990s and won six NBA championships. The 6-foot-7 small forward, a tenacious defender, made the NBA’s all-Defensive First Team eight times during his career. Last summer, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and also became a Bulls ambassador.
A native of Arkansas, Pippen spent last week at the Bulls-Sox Training Academy in Lisle, conducting his Scottie Pippen Basketball Camp for boys and girls ages 6-17.
At the conclusion of the camp, he spent a few minutes with the area's media, addressing various topics.
Among them: Pippen's remarks last month on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning”program, where he stated that “Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to play the game, but I may go as far as to say LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game because he is so potent offensively that not only can he score at will but he keeps everybody involved."
Q. How do you like working with the kids at camp?
Pippen: I enjoy working with the kids. I’ve got some of my own, so all these kids here are trying to learn a little bit more about basketball. It’s been a great, productive week here at the Bulls-Sox Academy. It’s a great facility here. It gives kids the opportunity to get out and just have some fun, and that’s pretty much what we’ve been doing all week. Just having fun and playing basketball. The kids have really enjoyed it as well as the parents.
Q. Scottie, you’ve talked about coaching before. Does being out here in this type of scenario make you think about getting on the bench at some point in the next couple of years?
Pippen: No, not really. This is more of an enjoyment and reaching out to your fan base. A know a lot of these kids probably didn’t watch me over my career, but their parents did. It was just an opportunity to share my knowledge with the younger generation.
Q. Obviously, everybody wants to ask you about the comments that you made pertaining to LeBron James and Michael Jordan. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?
Pippen: There’s really nothing really to say. The comments that I made were basically giving LeBron some props as a player and not to dismantle a player like Michael. We all know that he’s the greatest player to ever play the game. I think it was taken a little bit out of context. I felt like I was drawing more of a conclusion from the statistics more than accolades.
Q. Were you surprised at the backlash from that?
Pippen: You know what? I kind of rode off into the sunset, went down South and enjoyed no media, no TV, and just enjoyed life. I really didn’t get a lot from it as much as probably the (Bulls) organization had to deal with it. But I’m ready to move on from it.
Q. Have you talked to Michael since this?
Pippen: I talk to Michael all the time. There’s no problem between me and Michael. I think you guys (the media) sort of chewed into it a little bit too much.
Q. About the Bulls in the draft. Everybody was saying, “They need a shooting guard; they need a shooting guard.” And yet, no shooting guard.
Pippen: Well, I think the Bulls got what they really wanted. I think in terms of how they evaluated the talent and the guys who they felt were going to be there late (in the draft), (Jimmy) Butler was our guy. The team evaluated him; they saw him work out. They were very high on him going into the draft before any player was picked, so I think you just have to accept what’s there late in the draft and I think we’re very pleased what we were able to get.
Q. Are you going to go back down South and hang and just relax?
Pippen: (Laughing) Well, I don’t have to tell you that, do I?
Q. With all the athletes you’ve faced in your career, what do specifically think you can teach these young athletes?
Pippen: I try to share with them a little bit of everything. A little bit about life and what they can take from the game of basketball. Yes, defense was my expertise, but basketball is a game with a lot of different pieces to it. We try to teach them ball-handling as well as rebounding and passing. Every facet of the game is important to try to learn at this stage.
Q. If one of these campers were to take home anything from what they learned at this camp, what would you want them to take?
Pippen: Fun. We had fun. That’s what I really wanted them to do is to have fun. I wanted to be a presence here to make it as fun for them as possible.
Q. Do the kids see you as a role model?
Pippen: Yes, I think so. I think a lot of these kids didn’t have a chance to watch my career, but they’ve all seen some of the accolades that I was able to achieve in the Bulls organization. It’s great to have them come out and be supportive.
Q. Did you see some of the older kids in camp maybe explaining to some of the younger kids who you were?
Pippen: No, I think they probably all got a good lesson before they came to camp from their parents or from someone. The kids are great. I just can tell by their age that they probably didn’t see me play.
Q. The Bulls-Sox Academy mentioned maybe having you back here at some point for a leader camp. Is that something you’re considering?
Pippen: Yes, it is. It’s a great facility and it’s an opportunity now that I’m back in Chicago to really get involved in the community and continue to try to help the Bulls to build this academy, basketball-wise.
Q. Do you think there’s going to be a lockout in the NBA?
Pippen: You know what? I’m not allowed to talk on that, so I don’t know what’s going to happen.