Scottie Pippen has found himself making a lot of headlines recently, which for him is mostly good considering he’s trying to launch a new bourbon brand and that’s the entire reason he’s doing every interview he possibly can.
He’s also decided to just let it fly in those interviews, making some very interesting comments on everyone from Ben Simmons to Charles Barkley to Michael Jordan. Most of the people he has spoken on have not responded, but Kevin Durant took issue with Pippen saying he doesn’t know how to play good team basketball, taking him to task on Twitter and calling out a couple specific instances of Pippen being selfish. One of those was when Pippen refused to re-enter the game after Phil Jackson drew up a last second shot for Toni Kukoc instead of him.
All these years later, Pippen is still furious about that coaching decision — which is made even funnier since Kukoc drilled the shot and the Bulls won the game — and has yet to let go the fact that he deserved the chance at the final shot. As KD noted, how can he call Durant not a team player when he’s still mad about his coach drawing up a play for a better shooter in that spot?
But that point hasn’t stopped Pippen from still being extremely upset about the situation and railing against Jackson for it continuously.
The latest example of that came on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday, where Pippen said he felt the decision was racially motivated and, when Patrick asked if he was saying Jackson was a racist, Pippen responded, “Oh yeah,” before pointing to Jackson leaving the Lakers, writing a book about Kobe, and then returning to the Lakers as another example of how he took advantage of Black athletes. The entire interview is a lot, with some shots at Michael Jordan in there at the end too for staging some iconic huddle moments, but the Jackson part is surely what will garner the most attention.
DP: ".. By saying it was a racial move then you're calling Phil Jackson a racist…"
Pippen: "I don't have a problem with that."
DP: "Do you think Phil was?"
Pippen: "Oh yeah…"
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) June 28, 2021
Pippen spent a ton of time with Phil, as he said he was in those locker rooms and practices with him, so you have to take him as quite the character witness — and it’s not like Phil hasn’t put his foot in his own mouth at times, most notably with his “posse” comments about LeBron James.
At the same time, pointing to the Kukoc play as an example feels a bit like sour grapes from Pippen, because, again as KD and many others have noted, it was putting the ball in the hands of the better jump shooter. The Kobe point is interesting, and is at least a more than fair condemnation of Jackson insisting on one thing from his players and doing another himself when it comes to “the circle” and taking things that happened internally and making them public.
If nothing else, Pippen’s comments will once again dominate headlines and A-block space on talk shows early this week, as this was quite the interview with Dan Patrick.