Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author
Six world championships and millions of dollars later, former Chicago Bulls player Scottie Pippen is accusing the head coach behind it all of racism.
Of course, with a new bourbon to sell and a memoir coming soon, the Hall of Fame player could use a few headlines.
His evidence that former head coach Phil Jackson, who not only led Chicago to six world championships, but moved out west and led the Los Angeles Lakers to five of their own, is racist is because he made a “racial move” by not giving Pippen the last-second shot in a 1994 playoff game against the Knicks.
Instead, Jackson drew up a shot for a white player, Croatian forward Toni Kukoc. No slouch himself, Kukoc hit the game-winner. Meanwhile, Pippen was busy throwing a tantrum on the bench, having refused to return to the game with 1.8 seconds left.
On Monday, Pippen appeared on “The Dan Patrick Show,” and was asked about the “racial move” remark he made about the Hall of Fame coach who was named one of the 10 greatest coaches in NBA history while speaking to the liberal men’s magazine GQ.
“By saying it was a racial move then you’re calling Phil Jackson a racist…” Patrick said.
DP: “.. By saying it was a racial move then you’re calling Phil Jackson a racist…”
Pippen: “I don’t have a problem with that.”
DP: “Do you think Phil was?”
Pippen: “Oh yeah…”
Exchange with @ScottiePippen on Phil’s decision to have Kukoc take final shot against the Knicks pic.twitter.com/pH2aDLMDcQ
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) June 28, 2021
“I don’t have a problem with that,” the former player replied.
Patrick asked, “Do you think Phil was?” and Pippen didn’t skip a beat: “Oh yeah..”
Legendary player Michael Jordan had retired at the end of 1993 and Pippen wanted to be seen as the Bulls’ leader.
“One year without Michael Jordan. Can I get one shot? Like, I’m doing all the dirty work,” Pippen said. “Why would Toni, who was a rookie, get the last-second shot and you put me out of bounds? That’s what I mean racial.”
(He also pointed to Jackson being critical of Kobe Bryant in his 2004 book as further evidence of his racism.)
Yet, there’s so much wrong with his play analysis, it’s hard to know where to begin.
For starters, a social media user shared a clip of the play that proceeded Kukoc’s shot. A play that featured Pippen taking and missing a shot.
The last offensive play by the Bulls before Phil called a play for Kukoc. Pippen not a scorer or a shooter. There’s nothing racial about choosing a player with a better shot to win the game. pic.twitter.com/XoSXTTqAvb
— El-Ockular Maleek Jr. (@DopeMan922) June 28, 2021
Another social media user pointed to the documentary The Last Dance, to note that Jackson explained that the play he called was run successfully earlier in the season.
Phil Jackson explained his thinking on this play during the last dance. It was a play they previously ran which worked……. And it worked again in that moment.
Did you have a problem when they ran the same play earlier in the season? You looking foolish Scottie. pic.twitter.com/4nkCBOaNPT
— Street Anthem Anchor… (@GoHeadYung_) June 28, 2021
As for his upcoming book, Pippen has apparently grown weary of being known as Jordan’s sidekick.
Here’s more from GQ:
Pippen is tired of playing the second fiddle. And he’s willing to make that known. His announcement earlier this year that he would be publishing a tell-all account of his time with the Bulls was striking for a player who’s rarely gone in depth about his past. And in the first time since that declaration, he dives into his claims about the Bulls: how he was the “real leader” of the organization, how he deserved more respect from the press and the front office, and how he, not Jordan, “earned” the credit for the Bulls’ historic rise.
Social media users sympathetic to Pippen did take note of the fact that he lost his eldest child, Antron, 33, in April. No cause of death was given in the announcement.
Scottie Pippen lost his son a few months ago an ever since then his comments have been bizarre I think that could be part of what’s really going on.
— Panoramic P 🇯🇲 (@pablothe2nd) June 28, 2021
Nonetheless, there is no way Pippen comes off looking good here — here’s a quick sampling of responses from Twitter:
Kukoc made the shot. Pippen still complaining about this 27 years later
— Jim Caldwell (@caldwell_jim) June 28, 2021
I bet Scottie Pippen pulls up to Chic-fil-A and says, “Yes, let Scottie Pippen get a deluxe combo and Scottie Pippen would like a lemonade for Scottie Pippen as well”.
— ✭ Ryan Shady ✭ (@RyanShady) June 28, 2021
My guy is drinking too much of his bourbon. Sad to see
— 🐢 (@Turtleman12347) June 28, 2021
Scottie has gone batshit crazy
— Tony (@Antbwan77) June 28, 2021
It’s been so long ago, I forgot Michael Jordan was white. No wonder Phil gave him so many opportunities.
— Dean Rishwain (@DeanRishwain) June 28, 2021
Scottie Pippen seems to have constructed this entire alternate universe where everyone was against him and he got cheated out of his moment because of it, all to avoid admitting he was wrong and that let his team down for selfish reasons and was called out by all his teammates.
— OpinionatedKyle (@jazzmankyle) June 28, 2021
And I always thought Rodman was the crazy one on that team
— Billy Watson (@bewatson2) June 28, 2021
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