Stephen A. Smith Calls Out Star For Quitting On Bulls And Betraying His Teammates

In his scathing critique of Scottie Pippen, Stephen A. Smith reveals instances in the Bulls legend’s career where he felt betrayed.

The outspoken ESPN pundit Stephen A. Smith did not hold back in criticizing former Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen for what he perceived to be Pippen’s betrayal of his teammates. Smith was particularly critical of Pippen’s actions when it seemed like he wasn’t giving his team his all.

“We’re all the same as a team. Truly? Was Michael Jordan everyone? When Michael Jordan was gone, were you Michael Jordan? At an all-star game, you were the MVP of the team. Your squad advanced to the semifinals thanks to you. Because Phil Jackson called the final play against the New York Knicks, Scottie Pippen resigned.”

“Scottie Pippen was horrified and would not look into the game when he called the final play for Tony Kukoc to make the final shot. Bill Cartwright was talking about how he had betrayed the team and was practically crying, and Scottie Pippen had to deal with it.”

“He gave up on him. Is Michael Jordan there? Was there a warning from Michael Jordan not to sign that contract? Michael Jordan once said, “This is your opportunity to have it as your team.” Was Michael Jordan the one suffering from a migraine during the seventh game?

“Mighty Johnson was lifted 94 feet by Scottie Pippen, who stood up for him. But you also brought with you all those other things. That was not done by Michael Jordan.

When Pippen declined to check into the game during a 1994 playoff game against the New York Knicks, it was arguably the most notorious moment. Pippen strongly disagreed with head coach Phil Jackson’s decision to design Tony Kukoc’s final play. Pippen chose to stay out of the crucial moments of the game as a show of protest.

This action was a clear break from the expected dedication and team-first mentality, as seen by his teammates and supporters. Another superstar, Michael Jordan, was noticeably missing from the Bulls during this period, which highlighted Pippen’s choice even more. The Bulls avoided a fracas before losing in seven games after Pippen issued an apology and answered with 25 points in a victory in Game 4.

In a pivotal Game Seven during the 1990 Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons, Scottie Pippen experienced a crippling migraine headache. This condition rendered him unable to perform at his peak and effectively benched him during a critical juncture. Despite Pippen’s prior display of unwavering dedication and defensive excellence throughout the series, this incident raised doubts among fans and analysts about whether he could have contributed more to his team in that crucial game. Smith asserted that in such a significant contest, Pippen’s inability to play due to a medical issue cast a shadow on his commitment.


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One of the major factors that tarnished Pippen’s reputation was his contractual dispute with the Bulls. In the early 1990s, Pippen inked a seven-year, $18 million deal, which, at the time, appeared lucrative. However, as NBA salaries skyrocketed, Pippen found himself severely underpaid in comparison to his on-court contributions. This contract dispute led to friction with Bulls management and strained relations. Pippen later expressed deep regret for signing that contract. Smith argued that this episode exemplified prioritizing personal gain over the team’s success, which left his teammates disillusioned.

In a regrettable twist, Scottie Pippen decided to undergo foot surgery at the outset of the 1997-98 season, prolonging his absence from the lineup. The timing of the surgery sparked debate and criticism, as some believed it could have been scheduled during the offseason to minimize disruption to the team’s performance.

During Pippen’s recovery, the situation escalated further. General Manager Jerry Krause explored trade possibilities for Pippen, signaling a breaking point in the player-organization relationship. Eventually, Pippen took matters into his own hands and submitted a trade request, a bold move that marked a turning point in his association with the Bulls. His decision to sit out extended beyond his recovery period and had a ripple effect on the team’s performance.

Smith’s critique highlights the intricate nature of Scottie Pippen’s basketball legacy, showcasing moments of brilliance alongside instances that have been perceived as imperfections in an otherwise illustrious career. This discussion continues to captivate basketball enthusiasts and analysts alike.

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