Basketball connoisseurs often recognize Scottie Pippen as one of the greatest players of all time. However, somehow, someway, he often seems to be underrated, overlooked, or underappreciated by some people.
Pippen was the best two-way small forward on earth in his prime. There wouldn’t be a Michael Jordan without him, there wouldn’t be two three-peats without him, there wouldn’t be a dynasty without him. Like him or not, he was nearly as important as MJ on those title runs.
And, now that we’re fresh off the Dream Team’s 28 anniversary, Gilbert Arenas wanted to honor Pippen with yet another hot take, as he recently said no his No Chill Gil podcast that Pippen was actually the MVP of the Dream Team, not Magic, not Jordan:
“People didn’t realize on the USA team, he led the team in assists. Wasn’t Magic, Wasn’t John Stockton, it wasn’t the two best point guards in the world. It was Scottie Pippen. You know he was the most valuable because he’s the one that’s getting the ball from out of Jordan’s hand to a Barkley, from Barkley to a Mullin, from Mullin to a David Robinson. So he’s the one that’s making sure all these guys and he sacrificed himself, but he’s the most valuable on the team,” Arenas said.
Gilbert has a valid point here. Pippen was never known for being a selfish player. He put his body on the line, created for others, and quietly did his job better than most of the players from his time.
Obviously, Arenas isn’t saying that Pippen was a better player of Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan because he wasn’t, but his defense and playmaking clearly made everybody’s job easier. Would they have beaten everyone else even without Pippen? Most likely, but we have to give credit where its due.