When Michael Jordan retired from basketball, Scottie Pippen became the team’s best player, having been attacked throughout the 1993-1994 season.
Pippen’s leadership, while Jordan was hacking in the batter’s box, was featured in episode 7 of ESPN’s “The Last Dance” miniseries on Sunday. One of the most controversial points of Pippen’s season was when he decided to sit in the closing seconds of a playoff game between the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks.
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In Game 3, Pippen and the Bulls were down with less than two seconds left. Bulls coach Phil Jackson set up a game for Toni Kukoc to shoot in the last second, Pippen taking the ball out of bounds. Pippen was unhappy with Jackson’s play calling.
“I felt like it was an insult from Phil,” said Pippen. “I was the most dangerous guy on our team, so why are you asking me to remove the ball? “
When Pippen told Jackson he was “away,” Steve Kerr remembered that Jackson told him “f-k-le”.
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Kukoc took over the ball and struck the winning shot. But a toll has been levied on the team and may have changed the rest of the Bulls’ race.
“I was obviously happy to have had the shot, but the whole thing even going to the locker room, everyone was upset that everything was not going well,” said Kukoc.
Pippen recalled the moment of the documentary.
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“I wish it never happened, but if I had the chance to do it again, I probably wouldn’t change that,” he said.
For an insider perspective on “The Last Dance”, check out Fox Nation’s new show “Guarding Jordan”, where former NBA star and coach Jeff Hornacek is considering battling against the superstar of the NBA in the NBA finals in 1997 and 1998.