his relationship with Jordan, his youth, the Bulls… Scottie Pippen meets for Basket Time

For the launch of his autobiography “Libéré” published by Hugo Sport, Scottie Pippen gave himself over to the Basket Time team, the RMC Sport podcast. In this interview, the Chicago Bulls legend tells us about his journey, his relationship with Michael Jordan but also the documentary version of him. The last Dance.

Scottie, what prompted you to write this autobiography called “Ungarded” (“Liberated”, published by Hugo Sport)?

I wrote this book to give my point of view, to show people who Scottie Pippen really was. To show my story, my journey.

The premiere of the documentary. The last Danceproduced by ESPN with the editorial control that Michael Jordan had over him, did it also push you to give your version of the events, your story?

It wasn’t the documentary that prompted me to write the book. It wasn’t the trigger at all. When The last Dance it turned out that he had already started writing it. I don’t think she changed the substance of the book, but she did evolve it.

From the beginning of the book we understand the difficulties he went through when he was younger. It is remembered that his brother, Ronnie, was the victim of an attack that unfortunately left him disabled. Your father also had a stroke. You took care of them very young. What does the Scotsman look like? pippin today in the scottish pippin yesterday, who had to handle many things at the same time?

(Laughter) I never let the vagaries of life get to me. I could never have predicted my path, but I always dreamed that I would get there one day. I worked like crazy until I achieved my dream.

Did basketball somehow get you out of those difficulties? Or did it empower you? Did it help you grow to overcome all that?

I think basketball has helped me in several areas. It helped me understand teamwork. I played many different sports when I was a child. Basketball, baseball, soccer and athletics. Sport no longer held any secrets for me. I was able to put the importance of the collective into practice in basketball. I was able to use everything I learned in other sports for basketball. Cutting passing lanes, knowing how to take offensive fouls, all important points to be a good defender. I took from all sports to become a complete basketball player.

By taking the book on the part of Michael Jordan, you evoke his callousness in front of you and your teammates. What are you trying to say about him? At the beginning of the book you have harsh words against him. The further you go into it, the more your relationship seems to evolve. Even though you weren’t the best of friends, by the end of the book you seem to understand better why he was like that.

That’s a pretty deep question. I don’t really know how to respond. I think the book tells you a lot about our relationship. Who were he and I?

Was there a turning point in this relationship in 1992? When you join Team USA, it’s definitely one of the highlights of your career. All those nights with Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing and Michael Jordan playing cards. Did that bring you closer to Michael? Because you were in a different environment than the Bulls?

No, I really wouldn’t say it affected our relationship. Michael has always kept a certain distance. He didn’t approach us. For years we grew up together looking for our respective flaws. We did all that together, we evolved together. In training, even in the summer, we pushed each other. The important thing was not our relationship outside the basketball courts. The important thing was to win together.

A very delicate passage in the book now… It is the one in which you evoke the death of James Jordan, the father of Michael Jordan, in 1993. A very difficult summer for you if we remember the facts. You tried to contact Michael Jordan to offer your condolences. You contacted people from the Bulls management to talk to him because you didn’t have his phone number! Would you like to add something about this episode or at least explain why it happened like this? Because at the time you couldn’t talk to him about it until months later. Fans today may wonder how Scottie pippen, Michael Jordan’s teammate, with everything they’ve been through together, didn’t have his phone number?

Well, at that time, telephones were not used like today. Sometimes we didn’t even have a phone. I really don’t know why it happened like this. It wasn’t that important to communicate with others back then. Maybe that’s the reason, I don’t use it as an excuse. Maybe he wasn’t mature enough to know how to handle this kind of situation.

Could this episode have had an influence on their relationship from then on, even if they are obviously still in touch today?

No, I do not think so. It happened like this. Michael took a step back from the game and basketball in general. There are bound to be questions about that moment, but I think that’s what he wanted deep down.

Now let’s talk a little more about the player than about the man. This extraordinary career fueled by 6 NBA titles. This embodiment of the collective player, putting the team first. On a personal level, do you regret the distinctions, things that you deserved to have and that you finally didn’t get?

I have no excuses. I think I’m pretty happy with what I’ve achieved. It was fun and full of achievements, so I don’t regret it. I can’t say to myself, I should have done this or that because it would call into question everything I’ve been able to achieve.

Reading the book you see all these people who marked your path and who mattered to you. We can cite as an example Muggsy Bogues, the former Charlotte Hornets point guard with whom you played during the famous NBA pre-draft camp in Portsmouth. Do you still have contact with these people today?

I have contacts with dozens of former colleagues. The ones I talk to the most are (Horace) Grant and Ron Harper. I meet the guys from time to time and we chat from time to time.

Did former teammates call you to thank you for writing and telling your side of the story or another side of the story told in the documentary? The last Dance ?

Nobody called me to thank me even though I sent them copies of the book.

A word about today’s Chicago Bulls who had a great season and finished sixth. in the Eastern Conference with 46 wins. Even though they were eliminated by the Bucks in the first round of the playoffs, what do you think of their season?

They weren’t ready. They had injury problems. They lost their point guard (Lonzo Ball) pretty early in the season. It was his first problem. They weakened during the season when expectations were high. There were different problems. When you play against the defending champion, you have to be ready. When you meet them in the first round, that’s the kind of thing that can happen to you. They are able to overcome that.

Last question for the future. One of your sons, Scottie pippin Jr., will be running for the draft this summer. How do you see his career shaping up?

I see a good career for him. He has a lot of heart and potential!

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