Skip to main content

"It's important from a personal standpoint" — Scottie Pippen on winning a championship without Michael Jordan

Pippen later shared his view on why the Houston Rockets with Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and himself didn't work. “I felt as I were back in the late eighties, watching Michael throw up a million shots night after night.”
Scottie Pippen blames Michael Jordan for not winning DPOY in his career

Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan

Scottie Pippen is, without a doubt, a historical figure in NBA lore. But when we look back at his legendary career, many cannot help but feel bad about how he failed to win a championship without his former Chicago Bulls co-star Michael Jordan.

Pippen’s turn

For obvious reasons, the spotlight was on Jordan during the 90s Bulls’ heyday. In the process, Pippen, who was also a perennial All-Star player, spent those dominant seasons under MJ’s shadow. So, when Jordan retired for the second time in 1998, Pippen left the Bulls for the Houston Rockets.

At the time, Houston was yearning to become a championship team again. The Rockets already made the first move by signing Charles Barkley two seasons ago. And they were oozing with confidence that Pippen was the final piece of the puzzle.

Unsurprisingly, Pippen felt the same as he thought it was a chance to prove to everybody that he could also lead a team to a championship. Yes, Olajuwon and Barkley were big names, but Pippen, as well as everybody, knew they weren’t Jordan.

It’s important from a personal standpoint,” Pippen said when asked about what it meant to win a championship without Jordan. “I think this organization has invested a lot in me to come here and put this team back to a championship level.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Three superstars was different from the triangle

After being delayed due to the lockout, Pippen, Barkley, and Olajuwon finally set sail. Fans were excited, but along with it came frustration.

Instead of becoming the most dominant team in the league, Houston couldn’t maximize the amount of talent they had. Barkley’s weight issues became a staple, and Olajuwon wasn’t the same MVP-type player.

As for Pippen, he ultimately realized that the team’s offensive strategy never complimented his game.

I kept feeding the ball to them in the low post,” Pippen said of the 1998-99 Rockets. “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 star-studded Rockets finished the season with a 31-19 record. They made it to the postseason but were eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. Pippen did not lose hope and joined the Portland Trail Blazers the following season, only to become part of a talented yet dysfunctional team plagued with ego, attitude, and controversy. But somehow, they managed to come close to making it to the Finals.

In 2003, Pippen knew it was coming to an end. He made an epic return to Chicago and, ironically, played the last “23” games of his career on the team Jordan once ruled.

Los Angeles Lakers forward A.C. Green

“You only missed 3 games in 15 years?!” — Byron Scott sits down with ironman A.C. Green

It's been two decades but Byron Scott still can't fathom former teammate A.C. Green's iron man streak.

Milwaukee Bucks head coach George Karl and Anthony Mason

“The huddles were the worst” — Ray Allen on chaotic Milwaukee Bucks with George Karl and Anthony Mason

It didn't take long for Ray Allen to realize bringing in Anthony Mason was a terrible idea

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

“I can tell you the truth and it won't sound like false modesty” — Michael Jordan on what made him a special basketball player

Tony Robbins asked MJ what made him the greatest player of all time, and he loved Jordan's answer.

Philadelphia 76ers forward P.J. Tucker

“As long as we’re winning, it doesn’t matter” — P.J. Tucker on his lack of shots on the Philadelphia 76ers

Tucker acknowledged the absence of James Harden is impacting his offensive output.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley and Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut

“He has zero technical fouls in 15 seasons, that’s amazing” — Andrew Bogut astonished by unbelievable Mike Conley stat

In almost 1000 NBA games, Mike Conley was the ultimate professional and Andrew Bogut is putting the spotlight on that.