In the Chicago Bulls celebration of the 20th anniversary of their 1991 championship team, Scottie Pippen took a cheap shot at the Pistons. Via Lacy J. Banks of the Chicago Sun-Times:
‘‘The Pistons were a nasty team,’’ Pippen said. ‘‘You always had to expect them to play dirty because, remember, they were the Bad Boys of Motown. They’d go out of their way to be mean and try to hurt you. And because we had better athletes, coach Chuck Daly just let them play the way they had to play to win. Bill Laimbeer was no real athlete. The same for Rick Mahorn and Joe Dumars and James Edwards. We were faster, quicker, more competitive and smarter.
Nasty? You mean like throwing the ball at a guy’s back during a stoppage?
Go out of the way to hurt players? Pippen has that covered, too
Pippen’s comments hint at why the Bulls didn’t overcome the Pistons sooner. Chicago was mentally weaker than Detroit for a long time.
Pistons-Bulls series were physical, demanding battles. That was the era, and the Bulls were willing participants. They just didn’t play the game as well as the Pistons did.
Pippen’s lack of self awareness is annoying. His putdowns of the Pistons are insulting.
Last I checked, basketball wasn’t about who had the best athletes. It’s about who had the best players. Does athleticism help someone’s ability to play? Absolutely. But if someone can play despite lesser athletic ability, good for him.
I thought age might give Pippen some perspective. Apparently it hasn’t. The Bulls made similar remarks at the time, angering the Pistons, many of whom famously left the court before shaking hands with the Bulls in 1991.
Maybe those of you who chastised the Pistons for walking off the court haven’t changed your mind about that, but do you have a better understanding of their rationale? Pippen and his teammates relentlessly and unapologetically insulted the Pistons’ basketball accomplishments. Maybe walking off the court before game four ended went too far, but at least some reason backed the idea.
For his part, Pippen still doesn’t see it:
‘‘It was gratifying for us to see the Pistons walk off the court before that last game ended. Actually, we didn’t expect anything less because they were a classless organization and everybody saw they were a classless team. I didn’t expect Isiah Thomas or Joe Dumars or Laimbeer or Mahorn or Dennis Rodman to come over and shake our hands. They never had anything good to say about us before then, and I didn’t care to shake their hands anyway.’’
Pippen loses all credibility by throwing in Joe Dumars, who actually stayed to shake hands with the Bulls.
Just like when it slowed Chicago’s ascension to a title in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Pippen’s misguided scorn for the Pistons makes him look foolish.