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Scottie Pippen was Overrated Then, and Overrated Now

By Arkardious Ogonowski

With the retirement of Scottie Pippen, so goes one of the NBA’s best ”all-around player” and future hall-of-famer.

Wait.  Stop.  Hold up a minute!

While I’m not discrediting Pippen as a good player, and an effective ”all-round” player, I just want to make it crystal clear that he is probably the most overrated player in the history of the NBA, if not sports! 

Yes – he did win six NBA championships with Chicago, but he was also on the same team as the greatest basketball player in history, Michael Jordan.  He may say that Michael would not have won those championships without him – but I would seriously challenge that.  Although Jordan never got to play without Pippen until after he came out of his second retirement, I would make a serious case for Michael.

During the Bull’s run of 6 championships, Jordan was above and beyond the best player in the game.  He was on another level.  He was zoned it.  Although Pippen did draw some distraction from Jordan’s play, it was Jordan who ultimately carried the Bulls to their championship dynasty.  But we will never know if he would have been able to do it without Pippen.  However, we do know that Pippen could not do it without Jordan.

It was the 1993-1994 season, Jordan had announced his first retirement and Pippen was left to be the main man in Chicago.  He did exceed the critic’s expectation, leading Chicago to an unexpected 55-win regular season.  Also deserving of the credit was Coach Phil Jackson, whom I feel was the main reason behind Chicago’s success.  It was in the post-season that however showed Pippen for who he truly was.  The Conference semi-final pitted the Bulls against their rivals, the New York Knicks.  Down two games, Pippen had his defining moment of his career.  With 1.8 seconds left, and the Bulls down, Jackson had designed a play for Toni Kukoc’s much to Pippen’s dismay.  This was when Pippen refused to go back in the game.

What was that?  Would a ’great’ player be so self-absorbed to feel that he is so above his team that he refuses to go back in the game, when the team desperately needed his presence as an effective decoy?  I say NO, and a resounding NO at that. 

Another one of Pippen’s supposed great achievements was his ’shutting’ down of Magic Johnson during the Bull’s first championship series in 1991.  From Games 2 to 5, Pippen was assigned to guarding Magic, one of the greatest point guards ever to play the game.  During those games, Magic posted 14 points and 10 assists in Game 2; 22 points and 10 assists in Game 3; 22 points and 11 assists in Game 4; and 16 points and 20 assists in Game 5.  I don’t know, but that doesn’t seem like numbers a player would post if he was effectively ’shut down’. 

And as for Pippen being named one of the NBA’s top 50 players.  Oscar Robertson said it best, Beyond the first 10 or 12 guys the 50 greatest players list was about who had the best P.R.  Bob McAdoo, a former league MVP did not make the list.  Dominique Wilkens and Bernard King, both scoring machines who had to carry their weak teams on their backs, did not make this list. 

There is no doubt that Pippen was one of the best forwards in the league during his peak, which lasted about 7 seasons.  But the simple fact remains that his playing in Chicago magnified his accomplishments.  Just look at what he did when he moved out of the Windy City – nada!


Name: Arkardious Ogonowski

Age: 35

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Occupation: Water Filtration Engineer

Favorite Team: Chicago Bulls

Favorite Former Player: Michael Jordan

Favorite Current Player: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

Most Hated Team: Detroit Pistons

Most Hated Player: Kobe Bryant

Prediction for Eastern Champs: Miami Heat

Prediction for Western Champs: Sacramento Kings

Prediction for NBA Champs: Sacramento Kings