Scottie Pippen appears to have changed his tune while conveniently forgetting comments he made in the past are still available on the internet.
Pippen of course won six NBA championships alongside Michael Jordan in a glittering career with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s.
He has also consistently called Jordan the greatest basketball player ever.
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But Pippen’s relationship with Jordan soured following the release of the hugely popular Last Dance documentary, with Pippen reportedly furious at the way he was portrayed.
Now, the 57-year-old former small forward says Jordan was “a horrible player” prior to Pippen joining the Bulls in 1987.
“LeBron (James) will be the greatest statistical guy to ever play the game of basketball and there’s no comparison to him. None,” Pippen said during a chat with former Bulls teammate Stacey King on King’s podcast, Gimme the Hot Sauce.
“So does that make him the greatest player to ever play the game?
“I’ll leave that out for debate. I don’t believe that there’s a great player because our game is a team game and one player can’t do it.
“I seen Michael Jordan play before I came to play with the Bulls. You guys have seen him play. He was a horrible player. He was horrible to play with.
“He was all one-on-one, he’s shooting bad shots and all of a sudden we become a team and we start winning, everybody forgot who he was.
“Winning wasn’t at the top of his category. It was scoring. He was going after scoring titles.
“It wasn’t until Phil Jackson showed up that kind of changed the menu a little bit and that still took some time.“But that wasn’t in the documentary.”
Taking a quick look at Jordan’s season prior to Pippen being drafted by Chicago, he won the first of his record 10 scoring titles, averaging a career-high 37.1 points per game, and was named to the All-NBA first team for the first time.
Not an overly horrible effort for a single season.
He had previously been named rookie of the year in 1985 and was an All-Star in each of his first three seasons prior to Pippen’s arrival.
During the current 2022-23 NBA campaign, James surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the highest scorer in NBA history.
His Los Angeles Lakers were then swept 4-0 by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals.
Before the Last Dance was released, Pippen said this on ESPN.
“Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever put on shoes and play in our game,” he said.
“No doubt about it. I’m always asked questions to compare him to LeBron, I try to make the best of it, but really the comparison shouldn’t ever be made.
“And there’s no game that I would ever play in and pick LeBron James over Michael Jordan.
“No game. Not if I’m trying to win.”
Pippen had plenty more to say during a long chat on the podcast, including a belief that Jordan released the Last Dance documentary “to hype up his career” and “make him seem more relevant in today’s world”.
In the documentary, Jordan was critical of Pippen stating he was suffering from a migraine during a playoff loss to Detroit in 1990 and his decision to delay surgery until the start of that 1997-98 campaign.
On the podcast with King, Pippen also labelled his former coach Jackson and Jordan “selfish people” and said he couldn’t wait to get away from Chicago after the 1998 season.
“When you’re around selfish people, it really was the break up of our team to be honest,” he said.
“One selfish guy on the team, another selfish guy coaching the team, it was time for a divorce.”
Asked if he thinks he will ever talk to Jordan or Jackson again, Pippen said “no I don’t” before dropping: “Their egos are huge and I don’t bow down to people like that.”
After all that, however, Pippen still said his Bulls were the greatest team ever and said Chicago would have won more than six titles if Jordan hadn’t retired for two years or the team hadn’t been broken up in 1998.
“Come on man, we are the greatest team ever. We have the greatest dynasty,” he said.
“Golden State Warriors have had a great run, but they are nowhere in comparison to what the Bulls did in the 90s.
“We controlled the whole decade. Had MJ not left, we probably could’ve run off two or three more titles.“Had the Bulls not broken our team up at the end, we could’ve won one more title at least.“It would’ve been great to see.”