There is no Michael Jordan without Scottie Pippen. Before Robin arrived in Illinois, Batman was above all an exceptional scorer too lonely to lead his team to the Grail. Together, they rose to the top. Six finals. Six titles. A GOAT status for MJ and the best second option in history for Pip’. One was not without the other. At least until 1998.
Tired, Jordan left the league for the second time after the second ‘Three Peat’. And the Bulls then demolished their workforce. Pippen ended up at the Rockets for a season, then at the Blazers from 1999. He was not to cross paths with his former brother in arms again. Until the day when the latter decided to come out of retirement again. This time to join the Wizards, he was not a minority shareholder.
We were finally going to have the right between a duel between the two friends. Their former teammates were used to it. Phil Jackson taken great care to separate the two All-Stars as often as possible during training sessions. And Scottie Pippen took pleasure in rubbing shoulders with Michael Jordan. But they had never faced each other in an official match.
They could have come face to face in the 2001-2002 season. Jojo was however injured at the time of the two clashes between Portland and Washington. It was therefore a little later, in December 2002, that they finally walked the floors against each other. A long-awaited meeting… and ultimately disappointing.
Scottie Pippen also dropped on the “selfish” Michael Jordan!
Already because the two Hall Of Famers were clearly at the end of their careers. Jordan was contesting his last season at almost 40 brooms. Even if he was still running 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Pippen was coming to the end too. They were no longer the stars of the show. Jerry Stackhouse was the first offensive option in Washington. Rasheed Wallace the star in Portland.
In the final, they rarely defended each other during this very unbalanced match, largely won by the Trail Blazers (98-79). The only real highlight, a quest for a stray bullet… but the atmosphere was special all the same and they both recognized it.
“I felt really ready for this game. I knew there was a lot of attention and I wanted to be present, ”noted Scottie Pippen.
The eternal lieutenant took over that night. 14 points on 6 of 7 on shots, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Michael Jordan also finished with 14 points to 6 out of 10. But with a crushing victory for his opponent’s team. Thus ended their first… and only duel. Because injured Pippen missed the rematch later in the season. It was a historic moment, despite everything. Even if he will clearly leave less memories than all the battles they won together.
The only player to have a winning record against MJ, Kobe and LeBron is still in the NBA