One of the most iconic duos in NBA history is, without a doubt, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, who led the Chicago Bulls to six championships in eight years. Before Scottie Pippen became the player we remember, Michael Jordan was a one-man wrecking crew for the Bulls, and despite his greatness and dominance, he was not able to make it far into the playoffs. It was after Pippen asserted himself as a legitimate two-way player and learned the ropes in terms of becoming a dominant player in the NBA — things quickly changed for the Bulls.
In one of his older interviews, Phil Jackson talks about the admiration Michael Jordan had for Pippen after the summer in 1992 when they were both members of the famous ‘Dream Team‘ that won a gold medal that year in Barcelona. That tournament was an excellent showcase for Jordan to see if Pippen could assert himself as one of the best players in a group of future Hall of Famers.
Pippen was regarded as the best player on that team, and throughout the entire tournament, everyone saw how special he was on both ends of the floor. Even Michael Jordan, who already knew what Pippen was capable of, was impressed with what he saw from his teammate in Barcelona.
Michael returned from the games raving about Scottie’s performance. Before the summer, Michael had regarded Pippen as the most talented member of his supporting cast. But after watching him outplay Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Clyde Drexler, and other future Hall of Famers in Barcelona, Michael realized that Scottie was the best all-around player on what many consider the best basketball team ever assembled. Scottie, Michael had to admit, had even outshone him in several of the games.Phil Jackson, via 20secondtimeout
After the Olympics in Barcelona, the Bulls continued their dominance in the NBA, and Pippen established himself as one of the best wing players in the league. Here’s a short reminder of the 1992 Dream Team as they were heading into the game versus Croatia, led by the late great Drazen Petrovic and young Bulls prospect Toni Kukoc.