Skip to main content

Scottie Pippen details why joining the Houston Rockets was the biggest mistake in his career

Scottie Pippen & Houston Rockets

Pippen details what went wrong with the Houston Rockets

Scottie Pippen shared why his stint with the Houston Rockets was one of the worst parts of his career, even though on paper, it looked promising teaming up with Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley.

Pippen regrets joining the Rockets

After the Chicago Bulls dynasty was dismantled after 'The Last Dance' and their sixth championship, a lot of the players on that roster went to other NBA teams to pursue their careers. Michael Jordan went to retire for the second time, and his partner in crime, Scottie Pippen, was looking for an opportunity to join a strong team in the western conference that was a championship contender hoping to land another title to his already impressive resume.

After deciding between the Lakers, Phoenix Suns, and the Rockets, Pippen took a leap of faith with the Rockets. He thought it would be a great idea to form a big three with Hakeem and Barkley, assuming they have what it takes to win a title. Even though they were all past their primes, there was a chance this experiment would be fruitful, but soon he saw that it was a mistake because of two primary reasons. In his new autobiography, 'Unguarded,' Pippen details why joining the Rockets didn't go as planned.

"Hakeem, Charles, me - a Big Three before Big Threes became a trend in the NBA. What could go wrong? Plenty. A month into the season, despite playing forty minutes a game (with the Bulls, I had never averaged more than 38.6), my scoring was way down, and there was a reason. Two reasons to be precise: Charles and Hakeem."

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Jordan warned him about Charles Barkley

The system that was in place in Houston was completely different than the one he was used to when playing for the Bulls. There was a lot of iso basketball, unlike the free-flowing system the Bulls had in place with the triangle offense. Hakeem and Barkley were taking most of the shots, and Pippen's main task was to get them the ball, and he wasn't so much involved in the offense as he was with the Bulls.

"I kept feeding the ball to them in the low post. That was my whole job. Which meant a lot of standing around and watching them play one-on-one. I was used to the triangle, to the ball moving from one player to the next on every possession until we found the best scoring opportunity. I felt as I were back in the late eighties, watching Michael throw up a million shots night after night. The game wasn't fun anymore. I wondered why the Rockets want me in the first place? Anyone could throw the ball into the post."

Soon after, he started beefing with Charles Barkley since he wasn't putting in the work necessary to win a championship which is something Jordan warned him about playing with Barkley. Pippen compared Barkley to Shaquille O'Neal as someone who had all the talent in the world, but a lot of times, basketball wasn't his main focus which took away from their ability to be even greater players than they already were.

"Michael was correct. Charles wasn't dedicated enough to win a championship. Not even close. Before the season got under way, Tim Grover, Michael's trainer, came to town to work out with Charles and me. Charles didn't last one week. Michael could get away with playing golf and a hectic lifestyle. Charles could not. Something had to give, and that was basketball. He was a lot like Shaq. As great as he was, he should have been greater."

Pippen's stint didn't last long with the Rockets, and he left after one season to play with the Portland Trail Blazers that had a stacked team. His role with the Blazers was something Pippen found beneficial at that stage of his career, and they even made it to the WCF, where they almost beat the Lakers in a seven-game series. Pippen would, later on, retire with the Chicago Bulls, and even though he had a good chance to win another title without Jordan, that didn't happen. However, he has no regrets because he is still remembered as one of the most versatile forwards ever to play this game.

Shaquille O’Neal speaking on the Ime Udoka scandal - “I was a serial cheater…I did it. I was the best at it”

Shaquille O’Neal speaking on the Ime Udoka scandal -“I was a serial cheater…I did it. I was the best at it”

O'Neal labeled himself as a serial cheater and explained how his foolish actions from earlier in his life ended up being one of the worst decisions he made

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, guard Jrue Holiday, and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks to host youth programs as part of the NBA Abu Dhabi Games

Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks will be the first NBA teams to play in Abu Dhabi

Phoenix Suns' forward Jae Crowder defending Chicago Bulls' star DeMar DeRozan

Can the Chicago Bulls make a trade for disgruntled Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder?

Find out if the Chicago Bulls can acquire disgruntled Phoenix Suns small forward, Jae Crowder.

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan with Lonzo Ball

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan bracing for the entire season without Lonzo Ball

The Bulls are preparing themselves to be competitive while they wait on the health of starting guard Lonzo Ball. Here's what their head coach had to say about the matter.

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd

"You can't say, 'This is the way I would do it'" — Jason Kidd explains why he never forced his players to emulate his playing style

Kidd's experience on the Lakers coaching staff has proven to be extrememly valuable in his evolution as a coach.

Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon

Greg Anthony singles out the most underrated part of Hakeem Olajuwon's on-court skillset

Everyone praises Hakeem's footwork. Greg Anthony praised his God-given instincts for the game.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham and general manager Rob Pelinka

How the Los Angeles Lakers could take advantage of the NBA's new rule

The new NBA rule could benefit the Lakers if they implement a run-and-gun system.