Michael Jordan's documentary 'The Last Dance' couldn't debut in a better way. We got to know more details about the mighty Chicago Bulls of the 90s and all their dominance, but also about some other things that weren't that good for the franchise or their players.
Scottie Pippen, the second star of the team, signed one of the most curious contracts in the history of the league. He penned a 7-year, $18 million deal with the Bulls, something unthinkable in the modern NBA.
Even though the deal wasn't that bad when it was signed, as Pippen was the 8th best-paid player in the league, but when the time passed, he realized signing for that many years wasn't a good decision.
He was a superstar; even though he played with Michael Jordan, Pippen had a terrific tenure with the Bulls, becoming one of the best two-way players in the history of the game, helping Mike and the team reach their peak and win six titles.
However, when the Bulls won their 6th and final title, Pippen was the 122nd highest-paid player in the league. He made $2.8 million that season. Today, Andre Robertson is the 122nd highest-paid player in the NBA, making $10.7 million.
He picked security over uncertainty when he inked that deal. At that moment, his father had passed away and the conditions his family was living in wasn't the best. Scottie thought about his family members first and decided to sign that deal.
Via The Chicago Tribune:
It was the worst thing that ever happened to Scottie Pippen, that day in the playoffs almost two years ago when he got the call. He thinks of it often. His father, Preston, had died. A hard-working man who`d provided for a family of 12, of which Scottie was the youngest, he had suffered a stroke several years before and was confined to a wheelchair. But his presence and determination had still run the family.Ten kids, tended to by mom, Ethel, and dad, Preston, who worked in a local mill but suffered a stroke and had to retire on disability before Pippen entered high school. And there was brother Ronnie, crippled and in a wheelchair after an accident in gym class.The vision of Preston deteriorating from a stroke most of Pippen's life and of Ronnie in a wheelchair has always haunted Pippen--so much so that he was desperate to sign the five-year, $18 million contract extension in June 1991 that he now chafes under because of his long-standing fear of injury and loss of security.
In the end, Scottie did just fine and earned over $20 million than Jordan himself when both players finished their careers.
Still, it's hard not to think Pippen was extremely overrated, as Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report writes. He was a key piece for the Bulls' success but didn't get the credit he deserved for that.
One of the Game's Most Underrated Superstars
"I considered him my best teammate of all time," Jordan said of Scottie Pippen. It's hard to imagine anyone else who'd even compete for that title.
Pippen was a revolutionary point forward who averaged 20.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.2 steals and 0.9 blocks over the course of the years in which Chicago won its six titles. But those numbers that would leap off the page for most players fell shy of Jordan's. And as a superstar who spent much of his career as a No. 2, he probably doesn't get the credit he deserves.
Luckily, things got better for Pippen when he finished his career. However, there is this feeling that he didn't get enough credit during his active days. He was one of the best players in the league, as even Jordan claimed he wouldn't be as successful as he is if it wasn't for Scottie.