It only does a disservice to Scottie Pippen by calling him a sidekick if you forget that he played that role but was still so much more. A devastating defender, brilliant playmaker, and one of the most versatile players in league history, Pippen’s place in basketball annals is appropriate – he’s not a Hall-of-Famer by accident.
But we still never saw Scottie completely unleashed but for Michael Jordan’s brief NBA hiatus, when he took on the Chicago Bulls’ primary scoring load and emerged as the legitimate alpha dog that served as a blueprint for players like Grant Hill and LeBron James. Pippen showed us then that he could do what seemed like more than he was doing previously; scoring, after all, looms largest in basketball. But even that thinking betrays his value to the Bulls’ incredible 1990s dominance. Whether Jordan was on the floor or otherwise, Pippen was already doing so, so much to elevate Chicago to heights we haven’t seen since.
Scottie was a point guard and a power forward. A playmaker and spot-up shooter. A dominant penetrator and viable post-up threat. An offensive hub and a defensive beast. A sidekick, yes, but one so overqualified that he performed at a level easily belying that lazy description.
Perhaps more than anything, Pippen was simply great. In honor of the basketball legend’s 49th birthday, celebrate that greatness by watching this epic video of his top 10 career dunks.
(Video via NBA)
Where does Pippen rank all-time?
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