Q & A with NBA legend Scottie Pippen
By Paul M. Banks Founder/President of The Sports Bank.net,
2010 inductees include Jerry Buss, Cynthia Cooper, Bob Hurley, Sr., Karl Malone and two celebrated teams: the 1960 USA Men’s Olympic team and the 1992 USA Basketball “Dream Team.” The announcement was made at a press conference in Indianapolis, Indiana during the 2010 NCAA Final Four.
In the Bulls’ regular season finale vs. the Boston Celtics, Pippen was a special guest of the team, and he was honored before the United Center crowd. After the game, I caught up to him outside the Bulls locker room.
“It’s great. I can’t go out there and play the game like I used to, but any time you’re able to go out in front of a crowd of 20,000+, is a great place to be,” Pippen said of his public appearance at the Madhouse on Madison.
“It is a great, great class. Karl Malone, the ’92 team to be a part of that team, Cynthia Cooper- who I believe is the face of the WNBA, really put the game on the map and got women’s basketball going in the right direction and brought some excitement to it as well,” Scottie said.
Pippen, widely regarded as a top 25 all-time player in NBA history, and the second greatest Bull in franchise history, was asked to opine on the development of current Bulls franchise player Derrick Rose.
“Being an All-Star, stepping up and making plays down the stretch of games, he’s definitely been able to do a lot of growing this year,” Pip responded.
Pippen is one of just of just four post NBA-ABA merger players to ever lead his team (’94 Bulls) in points, rebounds, steals, assists and blocks in the same season. He had a storied career which included seven All-Star appearances, and was a lock to someday enter the hall. However, he was still pleasantly surprised when he heard the official news.
“I was excited. I was relieved. As a player everyone will tell you, you had a great career, but it all comes down to the judges, and getting in on that first ballot is a big source of pride for a player,” Scottie stated.
I asked Pippen about being honored at halftime of one of the most exciting NCAA title games in history. In between halves of Duke-Butler, Pippen and rest of the class was honored at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“It was a great Final Four and a great place to be honored, to be a part of what I think was one of the greatest Final Fours, and final game I’ve ever seen- just made it that much sweeter.”
Also joining him on that stage was the legendary Larry Bird, and since the ceremony took place in Indianapolis, you know the crowd reception was especially warm.
“Larry has always been a guy I’ve admired my whole career and before, any time I’m in his presence it’s a great feeling,” Pip concluded.
Paul M. Banks is Founder/President of The Sports Bank.net, an Upper Midwest sports webzine. He’s also a member of the Football Writers Association of America, the United States Basketball Writers Association and a sports writer for the Washington Times.com Communities and Walter Football.com