Comedy is a really hard thing to get good at. Being lucky enough to see Kevin Hart perform live, the degree of subtleness, charisma, originality, crowd handling, and actual humor on display all balled into one act tricks you into thinking the exchange is natural. But only a few who try it can ever actually make it work. For those who can't hack it, some resort to the shock factor that guarantees a reaction to the same extent it guarantees a comfort withdrawal. In other words, you keep trying to be edgy; you eventually lose the edge. The rule still applies to Scottie Pippen and the pages of headlines he tries to create every day.
If it's not another Jordan takedown, it's that he and MJ would "crush Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal." Scroll down a little further, and it's that Kobe is at the top of Pippen's list of wished teammates. One day Pippen says he wants to be remembered as the GOAT; the next, it's that Tom Brady does not even belong in the debate. But what's actually happening here?
Okay, he's trying to sell his book.
I still think there's a little more to it, and like with everything about Pippen's career, its roots are tangled around Michael Jordan. We already know Pippen was not happy about how his career got shadowed under the name of 'sidekick.' It's pretty much written on his forehead every time he talks about the old days of the nineties. He acts like that one ex-high school jock rehashing stories from 30 years ago, trying to convince everybody how great he really was. Except the difference is that Pippen was that great.
Best wing defender ever not named Kawhi Leonard, the second-best player on six championship teams, was one game short of taking the Bulls and Blazers to the Finals - but none of that matters because it's not enough to him. If Pippen stayed quiet and let his game speak for himself - people would look past the '94 protest of refusing to enter the game as a blip on what was a fantastic legacy. Instead, it's looked as the defining example of his character that he hasn't grown out of since entering his fifties. It has to be about him, or it doesn't matter. The funny thing is that his diva-like attitude actually brings MJ up in people's eyes.
'That's the type of guy MJ dragged to championship after championship for all those years?'
So even when Pippen is trying to stunt MJ's blinding popularity, he still can't help dishing him assists. Now that's a teammate. You see the same thing with Isiah Thomas, another victim of the Jordan aura. Angry about never being seen as an equal, even though Thomas is the one with the best argument, he discredits himself by claiming MJ would have been a "total loser" if not for teaming up with Pippen. It's the exact same motivation behind Thomas' '87 comments of Bird only winning MVPs because he's white.
The shock factor almost always works in a reversal effect. You can only listen to that many Amy Schumer jokes without going, 'okay, this is getting dumb'. You know why MJ's 10-part Netflix series was so spectacular because MJ never speaks. He plays, he waves, he trains. So when he does speak, it matters. Pippen is only getting numb.