During the 1996-97 season, Scottie Pippen was the one man that other players were in awe of. He was a man that only hurt his team, yet he was the man almost everyone wanted to play for. Pippen would miss two games early in the season because of a broken hand, and a game at the end of the season because of a sore knee. As the season went deeper, it seemed that Pippen was getting less and less plays in the game.

Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player ever to step on a basketball court, and the people who played against him knew this. However, he wasn’t the only man that made an impact on Scottie Pippen. He was the second pick in the 1987 NBA Draft, and there were only two players that were truly in awe of Pippen’s game: Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. It wasn’t because Pippen was the best player in the NBA, but it was because he was the best player on the court regardless of who he played with.

Scottie Pippen hasn’t impressed much in his NBA career. He played with the greatest player in history, Michael Jordan. Together they won six NBA championships. After leaving the Chicago Bulls, Pippen discovered that there was still someone in the NBA world who looked up to him.

Scotty Pippen and his life in the NBA after Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls

Scottie Pippen of the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Dallas Mavericks in 2003.
(Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

A split was inevitable after the Bulls won their second three-peat in the 1996-98 season. Jordan retired and the Bulls, in the midst of a rebuild, traded Pippen to the Houston Rockets for Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon. In his only season with the Rockets, Pippen struggled to average 14.5 points per game, his lowest since his sophomore year in the league. He also shot 43% from the floor.

Houston’s team spirit was pathetic. Pippen and Barkley clash, and Barkley goes after Pippen when the former Bull asks for a trade after one season with the Rockets. The Rockets fulfilled Pippen’s wish by trading him to the Portland Trail Blazers for six players just before the 1999-2000 season.

Pippen played four seasons in Portland without much trouble. He averaged 11.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, but continued to shine on defense. Pippen returned to the Bulls for one year after the 2002-03 season, but was hampered by injuries that caused him to play only 23 games.

Scotty Pippen was excited about Blazers owner Paul Allen

I loved my time in Portland on the @trailblazers team and part of that is Paul Allen and his leadership. He was a wonderful, successful man who gave much to his community. RIP https://t.co/5hSSQdFDmx

– Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) October 16, 2018

Pippen has never been outplayed by anyone, including Jordan. When he came to Portland, everything changed. Before every home game, according to Sports Illustrated, Pippen did not study his opponent. He turned his attention to the man in the stands at Portland’s Rose Garden, Blazers and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen. Allen has become a role model for Pippen.

Pippen is fascinated by the sight of the man with the brains who co-founded Microsoft. He was intrigued and didn’t hide it. He’s a great guy to watch, Pippen said in 1999. What’s wrong with him? Forty billion? I want to know: How can I make a billion? I want one! What should I do?

Pippen was like a young fan trying to get closer to his favorite player. He wanted to talk to Allen, but he didn’t know how to do it.

But that’s not how I want to approach it, Pippen said. I don’t want people coming to me just because I do, and I’m sure he doesn’t. So I need to let that relationship develop a bit more. Like winning a championship, and then I can say: Tell me how I can make a billion dollars. Tell me how to become a billionaire.

Allen passed away in 2018 and the Microsoft co-founder’s net worth was estimated at $20.3 billion, according to Forbes.

Pippen has burned a lot of bridges lately

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Whether it’s Jordan, Barkley or his former coach Phil Jackson, Pippen has been on a roll lately. He overcame them all and did not flinch. He called Jordan selfish. Pippen also criticized Barkley, calling him a fake tough guy.

He plays his role like he’s cool, Pippen said in an article in GQ in June. I don’t know who he was cheating on. Go back and check his file.

The article mentions the famous 1994 playoff game against the New York Knicks, in which Pippen refused to come back into the game with 1.8 seconds left because the game was not designed for him to make a final shot.

I don’t think it’s a secret, you have to read between the lines, Pippen said. It was my first year playing without Michael Jordan, why wouldn’t I take that last shot? I thought it was a low blow. I felt it was a chance to give Tony Kukoc a chance to assert himself. It was a racist act to blow him up.

He repeated his racist comments when he appeared on the Dan Patrick Show. Patrick told him: By saying it was a racist move, you are calling Phil Jackson a racist.

I have no problem with that.

You think Phil did it?

Oh, yeah, uh…

Pippen may not have respected many of his former players or coaches, but he certainly admired Paul Allen.

COMPARED TO: When Michael Jordan went to baseball, Scottie Pippen was not a leader for the Bulls

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