“One of the smartest most unselfish players I was ever around”

Scottie Pippen will always be known as the Robin to Michael Jordan’s Batman. But perhaps that’s a little unfair to the level of talent the Chicago Bulls legend possessed during his prime di lui.

Pippen was the original point-forward, a player who could handle the rock and initiate the offense but with the size and strength of a traditional forward.

In the modern NBA game, a point forward is still a rare commodity, yet they’re highly sought after. LeBron James, for all of his comparisons by him over the years, is probably the closest thing we’ve had to Scottie Pippen since he retired.

Maybe that’s why LeBron has always been so exceptional at molding his game around his teammates’ strengths because that’s exactly what Pippen did during his glory years with Jordan.

Why would Pippen claim LeBron is the new Jordan when LeBron is the new Pippen? Was he worried about identity theft? #ThingsToPonderAtNight

There are not many remnants of that all-conquering Bulls team left in the NBA these days. Sure, we get the odd glimpse of Jordan in Charlotte Hornets games, or when the Jordan team dine-out during the off-season. But beyond that, we’re not exactly spoilt for choice.

Well, except for Steve Kerr, who has oversaw another dynasty with the Golden State Warriors. Yes, that’s the second dynasty of Kerr’s career, one as a player, and one as a coach.

Kerr has had the pleasure of playing alongside Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan. He has also coached Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. So when he talks about how talented a player is, you will do well to listen.

And that’s exactly what Kerr did when asked to discuss Pippen for the NBA 75 Stories series.

“Scottie Pippen was one of my all-time favorite teammates because he was really a point guard in a 6’8 ” long armed, long-limbed body. Just incredible athleticism, so to play with him made the game so much easier for me. He would always be looking for me, finding me open shots, covering up for me defensively. ”

“If I made a mistake, I knew he was always going to be there. One of the smartest, most unselfish players I was ever around, and just a champion in every way,” Kerr said.

Scottie Pippen spawned a new era of wings

Look around the NBA right now. How many wings do you see that can handle the rock, attack the basket, defend at a high level, and rebound the ball? Every elite wing in the NBA has a little Scottie Pippen in them.

The former Chicago Bulls revolutionized their small forward and power forward positions, and did so with unassuming modesty. To Pippen, he was just playing the game the best way he knew how. And those watching at home began to model their game after him, and alter their ideals in what a wing should look like.

Now, decades later, there isn’t a wing worth their salt who isn’t a multi-skilled threat. Sure, not everybody can be at the level of LeBron James or Kevin Durant. But even the likes of Gordon Hayward and Harrison Barnes have some of that Pippen DNA in their game.

So, like Kerr said, Scottie Pippen was one of the greatest in his position, and it’s no surprise he finds himself among the leagues top 75 players.


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