Scottie Pippen was the ultimate glue guy and the perfect sidekick for Jordan during their reign with the Chicago Bulls. One of the most versatile forwards of all time was incredibly gifted on both ends of the floor and, despite being somewhat in Jordan’s shadow, gained his respect around the league as an all-time great player and winner.
Pippen’s only season when he was actively considered in the MVP conversations was the first year after Jordan left the Bulls. After years of being the second-best player on the team, Pippen asserted himself as a leader for the Jordanless Bulls. During the 1993/94 season, Pippen led the Bulls in almost every statistical category and to the second round of playoffs where they lost to the Knicks after seven games. Pippen was voted third for the MVP award that season behind Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson.
In an interview for NBA.com, Pippen said getting the MVP was never a goal in his career. Putting individual stats in front of the success of the team was never an option for Pippen, who patterned his game around being able to do almost anything to put the Bulls in position to win games.
“I never thought about trying to win MVP. I never thought about trying to do things as an individual. That’s just not how I played the game, and it wasn’t in my pedigree. I couldn’t have made myself play that way. It never crossed my mind to try and lead the league in scoring. I viewed that as a sort of selfish goal, and while I did have personal goals, they were to make the All-Defense team or be Defensive Player of the Year.”
Pippen’s intent was to become the greatest player he could be, but he wanted his game to speak for himself. He developed his own unique playing style that personalized all the versatile things he did on the basketball.
“I, of course, wanted to be one of the top players in the game, but I wanted to do it within my natural style of play. So I learned to let the game flow to me and stayed away from putting pressure on myself or rushing aspects of my game.”