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Scottie Pippen      

Retired American Professional Basketball Player

Scottie Pippen grew up in Hamburg, Arkansas, where he attended college at University of Central Arkansas. Pippen, a 6'8" small forward, was selected fifth overall in the 1987 NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics, who immediately traded him to the Chicago Bulls for the eighth pick, 7-ft center Olden Polynice.

Pippen immediately became part of Chicago's young forward tandem with 6'10\" (2.08 m) power forward Horace Grant, though both came off the bench to back up Brad Sellers and Charles Oakley, respectively, during their rookie seasons. Still, Pippen claimed the starting small forward position during the 1988 playoffs with his stellar play, helping the Michael Jordan-led Bulls reach the Eastern Conference semi-finals for the first time in over a decade.

Pippen continued to improve, helping the Bulls to the Conference Finals the following year as well as 1990, when he earned his first NBA All-Star Game berth. In 1991, he continued to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with. Pippen emerged as the Bull's primary defensive stopper and an indispensable offensive threat. He helped lead the Bulls to six NBA Championships. Pippen was selected as one of the NBA's Fifty Greatest Players when the league was celebrating its fiftieth season in 1996.

Pippen became known for stellar defense in addition to his consistent scoring, earning several NBA All-Defensive Team nods, including several on the first team. In 1992, he was named to the original Dream Team which competed in the Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

Michael Jordan unexpectedly retired in 1993, and the 1994 season marked Pippen's stepping out from Jordan's shadow and he performed as one of the best players in the league. That year, he earned All-Star Game MVP honors. He had perhaps his best season, leading the Bulls in scoring, rebounding, assists, and the entire league in steals, averaging 22.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.9 steals, 0.9 three-pointers, and 0.8 blocks per game, while shooting 49.1% from the field and a career-best 32% from the three-point line. For his efforts, he earned the second of three straight All-NBA First Team nods, and finished third in the MVP voting.

Perhaps the most infamous episode of Pippen's career came in the postseason of Pippen's first year without Jordan, the 1993-94 playoffs, where the Eastern Conference semifinals pitted the Bulls against their bitter rivals, the New York Knicks. On May 13, 1994, down 2-0 in the series and tied 102-102 in Game Three, Bulls coach Phil Jackson needed a big play from his team to have any hope of advancing to the next round of the playoffs. With 1.8 seconds left and the score tied, Jackson designed the last play for Toni Kuko, with Pippen relegated to simply inbounding the basketball. Pippen, who had been the Bulls' leader all season long in Jordan's absence, was so angered by Jackson's decision to not let him take the potential game-winner that he refused to leave the bench and re-enter the game when the timeout was over. Although Kukoc did eventually hit the game-winner, a 23-foot fadeaway jumper, there was little celebrating to be done by the Bulls, as television cameras caught an unsmiling Phil Jackson storming out of the arena. \"Scottie asked out of the play,\" Jackson would tell reporters moments later in the postgame interview room. Those seeking further answers found Pippen in the locker room after the game, looking shell-shocked and disoriented; when asked to confirm Jackson's statement, Pippen could only respond with "Yeah, pretty much ... We exchanged words, and I just took a seat."

Teammate Steve Kerr elaborated when recently asked to recall the event: "I was shocked," he said. "The only way to describe it was total disbelief. Here was a guy who had done so much for our team, who had been our leader all year long. He was, and still is, one of the greatest teammates I've ever had. But on that day, I think all the pressure and frustration of our season caught up with him, and he snapped." But perhaps Michael Jordan best summed up what was dubbed "1.8-gate" by SLAM Magazine, when he heard about it from reporters in the Birmingham Barons' locker room: "Poor Scottie," he said. "I kept telling him it's not easy being me. Now he knows."

Trade rumors escalated during the 1994-1995 season that Jerry Krause, the Bulls General Manager who didn't get along with Pippen, was looking to ship Pippen off to the Seattle SuperSonics in exchange for Shawn Kemp, moving Kukoc in Pippen's spot as starting small forward and Kemp filling in the vacant starting power forward position in place of Horace Grant, who left the Bulls via free agency during the off-season for the Orlando Magic. However, those rumors were put to rest once news got out that Michael Jordan was returning to the Bulls.

Upon Jordan's return to the NBA, the Bulls regained their much needed strength. With a revamped roster that included Dennis Rodman and Luc Longley, the Bulls managed to post the best regular season record for any team in NBA history (72-10) en route to winning their fourth title. They followed the feat with two more titles the following years. When Jordan retired again in 1998, the Bulls' dynasty was disassembled and Pippen was traded.

After playing in Chicago for 11 seasons, his tumultuous relationship with General Manager Jerry Krause came to a head, and the second alltime leader in points, assists, and steals in Chicago's history was traded to the Houston Rockets for the lockout-shortened season in 199899. In Houston, he teamed with Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley to form one of the best front lines in NBA history, but his failure to assume the \"franchise\" mantle from Olajuwon led to chemistry problems (with Barkley in particular) and eventually his departure. He was traded in the offseason to the Portland Trail Blazers, whom he helped to the Western Conference finals, where they lost to the eventual champion, the Los Angeles Lakers, in seven games.

For the most part, Pippen was the consummate playoff performer, reaching the playoffs an amazing 16 straight years (11 with Chicago, 1 with Houston, 4 with Portland), and has played in more playoff games than any NBA player except Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Horry. In the summer of 2003, new Bulls General Manager (and former Pippen teammate) John Paxson attempted to change the fortunes of the rebuilding Bulls by bringing Scottie back to Chicago. However, Pippen's effectiveness was drastically limited by injuries, and he retired prior to the 2004-05 season on October 5, 2004.

Pippen is considered among the best all-around players in NBA history and is also notable for having been a prototypical "point forward", a term which he popularized (and revitalized) with his great ball-handling, passing and court vision skills traditionally limited to point guards. This was in addition to his rebounding, scoring, and defense, all contributing to his consistent play for over a decade.

After retiring, he spent some time working as a basketball analyst for the Chicago Bulls. Currently, he is a special assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers. On December 25, 2005, Pippen debuted as studio analyst for the NBA on ABC. Before this he was a part-time analyst for ESPN.

Pippen is an avid poker player, and frequently participated in high-stakes games with teammates Jordan and Ron Harper when the Bulls were on the road.

On December 9, 2005, Pippen had his jersey number retired by the Chicago Bulls in a ceremony. His jersey number 33 joins Jordan's 23, Jerry Sloan's 4 and Bob Love's 10 as the only four numbers retired by the Bulls.


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