The Chicago Bulls wouldn’t have the dynasty they’ve had if it weren’t for Scottie Pippen. The guy could do it all on the basketball floor equally well and was a real glue guy for the team for over a decade. During their first three-peat, Scottie already established himself as one of the greatest perimeter defenders in the league, capable of guarding multiple positions. Only a few people possessed that kind of ability in the NBA at that time, and one of them was his later teammate Dennis Rodman.
When Rodman joined the Bulls in 1995, the team knew how to use him in the best way possible. Alongside Jordan and Pippen, the three of them formed a defensive juggernaut capable of shutting down any team on defense. Rodman had tremendous respect for Pippen even before they became teammates. The Bulls had to go through the Detroit Pistons on their way to championships, which gave these quite a few opportunities to go at each other.
Rodman noticed when Pippen came into the league as someone who has a lot of potential and, through their battles in the eastern conference, had the opportunity to see how good Pippen was. On top of that, when they became teammates in Chicago, it didn’t take Rodman long to see what kind of impact Pippen has on the team, making everybody’s life much more comfortable on the basketball court with his versatility.
He impressed the hell out of me when I got to Chicago, and I think he’s more impressive when you’re playing with him than against him. When Scottie Pippen first came into the league, I told anyone who would listen that he was going to be one of the best small forwards ever to play the game. I could tell from his athletic ability and the different things he could do. He’s a great defensive player, a damn good rebounder, and he could get his shot off anywhere, anytime. He was no surprise to me.Dennis Rodman
Having Pippen and Rodman on the same team helped Michael Jordan immensely because he didn’t have to focus so much on the defensive assignments having these two to have his back. Other players and coaches also mentioned numerous times how vital Pippen was for that team, not just from the playing perspective but a leadership one. Jordan was known as a tough guy who demanded a lot from his teammates and often confronted them if they weren’t giving 100 percent. On the other hand, Pippen was calmer and had a friendlier approach when communicating with his teammates, which is a combination that worked well for the team’s chemistry and their historical success.
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