WATCH: Scottie Pippen Thinks Phil Jackson Is A Racist
By Jason Hall
June 28, 2021
Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen made harsh accusations against his former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday (June 28) morning.
Pippen, who played for Jackson during his entire initial run with the Bulls during the latter's stints as both an assistant (1987-89) and head coach (1989-98), was asked about his recent comments in a GQ article in which he accused Jackson's decision to give Toni Kukoc, a White rookie, the opportunity to hit a game-winning, buzzer-beater in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Knicks as a "racial move."
Pippen pointed out that he was having an MVP-caliber season in the absence of former teammate Michael Jordan -- who retired to play baseball prior to the 1993-94 season before returning in 1995 -- but was benched by Jackson instead of being the focal point during the final play.
DP: ".. By saying it was a racial move then you're calling Phil Jackson a racist..."— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) June 28, 2021
Pippen: "I don't have a problem with that."
DP: "Do you think Phil was?"
Pippen: "Oh yeah..."
Exchange with @ScottiePippen on Phil's decision to have Kukoc take final shot against the Knicks pic.twitter.com/pH2aDLMDcQ
"That was Scottie Pippen's team," Pippen said. "Scottie Pippen was on pace to be an MVP that year, right? Ok, well, why would you put him in a position not to be successful? Why wouldn't you put him in a position to succeed? Michael Jordan's not there, so whose next in line for you?"
"But have you talked to Phil about this?" Patrick asked. "Because by saying it was a racial move then you're calling Phil a racist."
"I don't got a problem with that, "Pippen responded.
"Do you think Phil was, or is?" Patrick asked.
"Oh yeah," Pippen responded.
The Hall of Fame forward then pointed out Jackson's tumultuous relationship with Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant following the coach's first stint with the Los Angeles Lakers.
"Do you remember Phil Jackson left the Lakers, wrote a book on Kobe Bryant and then came back and coached him? I mean, who would do that? You name someone in professional sports that would do that, you know? I think he tried to expose Kobe in a way that he shouldn't have," Pippen added. "You're the head coach and you're the guy that sits in the locker room and tells the players 'this is a circle and everything stays within the circle because that's what team is about.'
"But you as the head coach open it up and now you go out and you try to belittle, at that time, probably one of the greatest players in the game?"
During the GQ interview, which was published on June 24, Pippen addresses the Eastern Conference Semifinals incident similarly to the interview with Patrick on Monday.
"Go back and look at it and you can see it. It was my team," Pippen said. "Why are you telling me to take the ball out on a game-tying shot. It wasn’t even a game-winning shot. Why are you trying to let him be the hero? He ain’t the leader of this team. No. You trying to make him a hero to hit that shot. If he misses, he playing wit’ house money. He playing what I done earned here. Okay? I have been earning this for Michael Jordan for years and he gets the last shot. And I’m supposed to step inside and let Kukoc get in there? [Scoffs.] Do you understand English? Oh. Okay. Exactly."
Pippen and Jackson won six championships with the Bulls during their 11 seasons together in Chicago.
Jackson went on to win five more championships with the Lakers coaching Bryant, which included three prior to his initial resignation and tell-all book, The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul, in 2004.
You can watch Pippen's full interview from the Dan Patrick Show in the video below.
You can also listen to the Dan Patrick Show podcast in the link below.