'Super Teams' in the NBA have been a thing for quite a while, as we have seen numerous teams filled with a couple of stars go all the way and win it all. But when we talk about old 'Super Teams,' the story changes dramatically, with those experiments usually failing badly. One of those team were definitely the 1998-1999 Houston Rockets.
The lousy history of old 'Super Teams'
Off the top of my head, I can remember multiple teams that tried to gather a couple of aging stars in hopes of winning a championship. The 2021 Lakers are the most recent example, struggling to start out the season with their aging roster full of former and current All-Stars. You can put the 2018 Cavs, 2013 Lakers, 2004 Lakers and the 1999 Houston Rockets in the same conversation.
All of these teams built their roster around multiple star veterans in hopes of creating a championship team. But things never worked out as planned, with constant problems like injuries and bad chemistry plaguing these teams through their seasons, eventually ending in disappointing results.
The 1998-1999 Houston Rockets
The 1999 season marked a whole new era for the NBA. Coming into a shortened lockout season, the landscape of the league changed dramatically. Jordan retired again, and the Bulls were no longer the team to beat. So his partner in crime, Scottie Pippen, decided to join forces with a couple of other superstars in Houston.
The trio of Scottie Pippen, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Charles Barkley in the '90s sounded like a fantasy. They were the talk of the league despite being way past their prime years, with everybody expecting them to run over the competition. But unfortunately for Rockets fans, this wasn't a reality.
Pippen was coming off an injury-riddled season, dealing with foot and back pain, and not looking anywhere near the Bulls version of him. Hakeem was still putting up 20 & 10 on a nightly basis, but at 36 years old, it was evident even "The Dream" doesn't have much left in the tank. And to cap it all off, a 35-year old Charles Barkley came into the season obviously overweight and not ready to bring his A-game night in and night out.
That was a recipe for disappointment, as the veteran star trio all had underwhelming individual seasons, eventually resulting in a 31-19 record and first-round playoff exit to the Los Angeles Lakers. That would be the only shot this trio got, as Pippen got traded to Portland the following season, while Hakeem and Charles retired in the next few years.
Scottie Pippen is back at it, calling out Charles Barkley this time
Scottie Pippen has been in the center of media attention lately again, as he is promoting his new book and sharing numerous controversial takes along the way. The main target has been Michael Jordan, but this time Charles Barkley got his share of criticism from Scottie. In an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio, Pippen talked about why the Rockets experiment didn't work and called out Barkley for not being dedicated enough:
"I thought I was joining a super-team to some degree. It just didn't work out. We just didn't have the right chemistry, and we were aging a little bit. It wasn't a good fit for me. Coming off a second-back injury, I needed a little more youth around me. I didn't realize how much Hakeem had diminished in the game, and I didn't realize Charles wasn't as dedicated as I thought he would be."
"Charles wasn't as dedicated as I thought he would be."@ScottiePippen explains to @TheFrankIsola how it just didn't work out in Houston with Charles Barkley.
Listen to our Town Hall with Scottie Pippen here:
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) November 9, 2021
">SiriusXM NBA Radio
Pippen wasn't healthy enough to carry this team and be the backbone to the older Hakeem and Charles, resulting in this Rockets team underperforming. Later, Pippen said that the joining of forces happened strictly, so Barkley gets a chance at a ring. Pippen had his six rings and Hakeem had his two, so they were set. But Barkley was still on that elusive hunt.
That's probably why Pippen didn't understand Charles's lack of dedication and will to get himself in shape to maybe have a shot at a ring. It's an interesting point of view, but it seems Scottie is after everyone who did him any wrong during his career 20 years later. Certainly not a good way to hold any relationships or friendships.