Everyone who grew up watching the NBA in the '90s knows how valuable Scottie Pippen was for that Chicago Bulls squad during their championship runs. Even though he often doesn't get the respect he deserves and is considered underrated by numerous fans, there is no question Pippen was one of the most versatile two-way players in NBA history and a teammate every coach would want on his team.
Pippen was the perfect glue guy who could do so many things equally well on the basketball court. He could score, pass, rebound, lock up the best opposing guards and forwards. Something that also doesn't get enough recognition is that Pippen was a true floor general and often an extended voice of Phil Jackson because of his ability to execute plays on offense properly.
His former teammate during his early days with the Bulls and later on a fierce rival Charles Oakley always had tremendous respect for Pippen. Oakley witnessed firsthand what type of player Pippen is and the uniqueness he possesses. They faced off several times in the eastern conference playoffs after Oakley became a crucial member of that legendary Knicks squad. There were several games when Pippen's versatility saved the Bulls, and a lot of times, it seemed his defense played a vital role against those hard-nosed Knicks teams.
He's the best athlete all-around to ever play in the NBA. Tell me somebody who can do what he could do for 48 minutes on the basketball court. He was the best all-around. He could play three positions, four positions, rebound, assists, steals..
Charles Oakley, via 20secondtimeout
When Jordan came to the NBA, fans immediately saw the second coming of Julius Erving because of the incredible similarities between the two. Erving always respected Jordan and recently talked about their matchups in an interview; he also admired Pippen and what he brought to the table for the Bulls. Erving is a true scholar in basketball who completely understands the value a player like Pippen has on a team aiming for a championship. After watching them two dominate the NBA for years, Erving concluded that there were never two teammates in the league that complemented each other so well.
There are certain things that Pippen does for that team that Michael doesn't do. Definitely defensively. I think offensively; he's always conscious of getting the other guys involved. Not to take anything away from Michael, but I think Scottie is just more cognizant of the total package, and that makes them complement each other real well.
Julius Erving, via 20secondtimeout
The Last Dance documentary shed some light on Pippen's greatness and importance for the Bulls during those years. Some fans still discredit Pippen saying Jordan carried most of the load while using different arguments to prove their case. However, when two NBA legends, such as Oakley and Erving, tell what they think about Pippen, that right there is the ultimate testament of his greatness and importance for one of the most dominant teams in NBA history.