Happy birthday Scottie Pippen!

Scottie Pippen with the Chicago Bulls in 1995
Scottie Pippen with the Chicago Bulls in 1995

Scottie Maurice Pippen (photo ©Lipofsky Basketballphoto.com) was born on September 25, 1965 in Hamburg, Arkansas, USA.

The youngest of 12 children, Scottie Pippen was the only one who could go to college. His parents couldn’t afford to to send their other children to college, especially after his father remained partially paralyzed following a stroke.

Scottie Pippen attended the University of Central Arkansas, not exactly the most prestigious one in the USA. However, thanks to his increasing performances, he could draw the attention of NBA scouts. In 1987 he was the fifth overall pick in the NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics before being immediately traded to the Chicago Bulls.

With Scottie Pippen, the results for the Chicago Bulls, who for a couple of years had been based primarily on Michael Jordan‘s performance, gradually improved. The Bulls became a team increasingly considered among the favorites in the Eastern Conference thanks also to other emerging young players such as Horace Grant but those were the years of the Detroit Pistons, the famous “Bad Boys” who won two consecutive titles. The Chicago Bulls lost against them three consecutive playoff series in 1988, 1989 and 1990.

In 1990/91 there was a further leap for the Chicago Bulls. In the second season of Phil Jackson as their head coach, the team finished the regular season with 61 wins, the record for the Bulls. Finally, they managed to defeat the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals before winning their first NBA title.

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s Chicago Bulls also won the title in the following two seasons. In 1992, Scottie Pippen also won the gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics as part of the Dream Team, the incredible group of champions that made the history of basketball.

When Michael Jordan announced his retirement prior to the 1993/94 season, Scottie Pippen became the leader of the Chicago Bulls. However, the results weren’t the same and he was also at the center of some controversy.

The March 18, 1995, Michael Jordan announced his return to the NBA. Despite his help, the Chicago Bulls were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals by the Orlando Magic. In the following seasons, with the Jordan / Pippen duo restored from the beginning of the season came the second “threepeat” for the Bulls.

Phil Jackson’s contract was expiring, Scottie Pippen wanted to leave and he wasn’t alone because Dennis Rodman, another protagonist in recent titles, decided to leave the Bulls too while the dispute between players and owners led to the NBA lockout. Meanwhile, Michael Jordan announced his second retirement as a player.

Eventually, Scottie Pippen moved to Houston Rockets, where he wanted to try to win the title again, this time with Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon. Despite his great performances, the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Scottie Pippen asked to be traded and ended with the Portland Trail Blazers, where he played four high level seasons but still winning nothing. In 2003 he returned to the Chicago Bulls and a year later announced his retirement.

In 2007 Scottie Pippen announced plans to try to return to the NBA but nothing came of it. In 2008 he played two games in the Finnish league with Torpan Pojat and one in the Swedish league with Sundsvall. In 2010 he returned to the Chicago Bulls with various jobs in the management staff.

Scottie Pippen has become famous as one of the greatest defensive players in the NBA but he was versatile in all phases of the game so he could score and give assists as well. With Michael Jordan he formed one of the strongest duos in the history of basketball. For these reasons in 1996 he was voted one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History and in 2010 was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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