NBA icon Scottie Pippen recently made some comments to GQ in an interview about his decision to sit out a game in 1994, giving Chicago Bulls rookie Tonie Kukoc an opportunity to take the final shot in the playoff game. At the time, that’s what his former coach Phil Jackson wanted, but he also seems to refuse to enter the game out of spite, so the messaging was mixed.
In his interview, Pippen suggested Jackson wanted to bolster Kukoc’s career and his reasons were “racial.” Now, he’s expanded on those comments while making an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show.
“If you knew that Scottie Pippen had been with the Bulls from , battled through the Pistons and every other team we had to get to those three championships, wouldn’t you give Scottie Pippen one opportunity to get a last-second shot?” Pippen said. “Without Michael Jordan. One year without Michael Jordan, can I get one shot? I’m doing all the dirty work.”
“Why would Toni, who was a rookie, get the last-second shot, and you put me out of bounds?” he continued. “That’s what I mean [by] ‘racial.’ That was Scottie Pippen’s team. 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?”
Patrick tried to get Pippen to be more explicit, asking if he’d call Jackson a racist.
“I don’t got a problem with that,” he answered, then said, “Oh yeah,” when Patrick asked directly if he thought Jackson was racist.
Pippen’s been in the news lately for his controversial comments on other NBA employees, like Kevin Durant, who Pippen blamed for the Nets’ loss last week. Durant even tweeted about the infamous 1994 game in response:
Don’t think Pippen will ever back down on his position, or his habit of talking about that game.