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Scottie Pippen Explains Why The 1998-99 Houston Rockets Superteam Was A Failure: "I Didn't Realize How Much Hakeem Had Diminished... I Didn't Realize Charles Wasn't As Dedicated As I Thought He Would Be."

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Rockets Superteam

The Houston Rockets had a fair amount of star power on their team during the 1998-99 season. They had Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley on the roster from the 1997-87 season and added Scottie Pippen via trade. Pippen was coming off a three-peat with the Chicago Bulls, and with his addition, there were a lot of expectations for that Houston Rockets team.

However, the team wasn't able to fulfill those expectations, getting eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. Scottie Pippen has recently spoken to Frank Isola on Sirius XM NBA Radio to explain why the superteam Rockets ended up being a failure, with the 6-time champion pointing to team chemistry, as well as the decline of Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley's lack of dedication as some of the reasons for that happening.

We were a little bit older. I thought I was joining a superteam to some degree. But it just didn't work out... I felt that it wasn't a good fit for me, obviously coming off a second back surgery. I didn't realize how much Hakeem had diminished in the game... I didn't realize Charles wasn't as dedicated as I thought he would be.

While it is obvious that Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon weren't in their primes during the 1998-99 season, they still put up solid regular season numbers. Numbers don't translate to championships, but most would agree that a team with 3 current Hall-of-Famers that were still good players at the time could potentially have been a great playoff team. Even Pippen thought that he was "joining a superteam".

However, things didn't work out due to chemistry, as Scottie Pippen mentions. Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley notably have thrown barbs at each other even after their careers were over, with Scottie Pippen calling Barkley a "fake tough guy".

A lot of the time talented players do figure out how to play with one another, though fit definitely still matters. At the end of the day though, a lot of things have to go right for teams to win rings, and it's hard to win with bad chemistry, as illustrated by this particular Rockets team.