Scottie Pippen's admission that he was elated when Michael Jordan first retired in 1993 sheds light on their complicated relationship. Despite being regarded as one of the greatest duos in NBA history, Pippen revealed his desire to step out of Jordan's shadow and be the focal point of a team. Pippen expressed his happiness at the opportunity to be "the man for a change" while acknowledging his wish for Jordan's eventual return.
This confession might confuse diehard Bulls fans who witnessed the team's success under Jordan's leadership. With three consecutive titles and a place in history as one of the greatest teams, it would seem that Pippen should have been grateful for the spotlight and recognition they received together. However, Pippen's remarks suggest a longing for individual acclaim and an aspiration to share the limelight instead of being overshadowed by Jordan.
Pippen's statement in 2017 came in response to Kevin Durant's controversial move to the Golden State Warriors. Pippen focused on Durant's decision to join a stacked team and win an "easy championship ring," sympathizing more with Russell Westbrook, who was left to lead a struggling team. This mindset could have mirrored Pippen's feelings during Jordan's retirement, where he desired to prove himself as a leader capable of guiding a team to a championship and gaining the recognition he craved.
While Pippen had undeniably great talent, he faced challenges in leading a team to glory on his own. In comparison, Westbrook, despite facing difficulties, was acknowledged with an MVP title for his efforts. Interestingly, Westbrook and Durant maintained a good relationship despite their diverging paths. On the other hand, Jordan and Pippen's relationship has become strained over time.
In conclusion, Scottie Pippen's admission reveals his true thoughts on Michael Jordan's initial retirement. Pippen's happiness stemmed from the opportunity to step into the spotlight and prove himself as a leader. Despite their on-court chemistry, Pippen's desire for individual recognition and the complexities of their relationship have contributed to their current strained rapport.