Scottie Pippen’s career earnings have been a topic of debate after his negotiations with the Bulls were a focal point of “The Last Dance” documentary. Pippen’s salary with the Bulls during the 1997-98 season (the year featured on “The Last Dance”) was $2.77 million, per Spotrac.
Pippen would eventually land his big payday, but it would not come in Chicago. The Bulls traded Pippen to the Rockets after the lockout ended in 1999. The Chicago Tribune reported that Pippen signed a five-year, $67.2 million contract with the Rockets after he was traded. Pippen’s salary jumped up to $11 million in 1999, which was a sizable increase from his deal with the Bulls.
As fans expressed concern over the forward’s old contract, Pippen’s ex-wife Larsa Pippen tried to ease people’s anxiety about the former Bulls star’s financial situation. She posted a screen shot of Pippen’s career earnings listed at more than $109 million.
“Thx for your concern Scottie did ok #TheLastDance,” Larsa Pippen tweeted.
ESPN reported that five other Bulls earned a higher salary than Pippen during the 1997-98 season. Pippen ranked outside the top 100 paid players in the NBA during the same season at No. 122.
Pippen’s Career Earnings Topped $109 Million
According to Spotrac, Pippen earned $109.95 million over his 18 NBA seasons. To put it in perspective, Pippen earned more money over his NBA career than Jordan who took home $89.77 million from his contracts with the Bulls and Wizards.
Jordan was able to maximize his earnings off-the-court to become one of richest athletes ever, but Pippen’s NBA career outlasted Jordan as he was able to be part of the league when more lucrative contracts became commonplace. Pippen ended his career in Portland and earned more than double what he did in Chicago. Pippen earned $66.3 million with the Blazers over four years compared to $32 million in his 13 seasons in Chicago, per Spotrac.
Part of the issue for Pippen is he signed a long-term deal where his annual salary eventually drastically undervalued his production. Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf even admitted that the contract was not wise for Pippen to sign.
“I do recall it was a longer contract than I thought was smart with him,” Reinsdorf noted in “The Last Dance,” according to New York Post. “I said to Scottie the same thing I said to Michael: ‘If I were you i wouldn’t be signing this deal. You could be selling yourself short. It’s too long of a deal.’”
Pippen Attempted to Sue Media Outlets Claiming He Was Broke
Pippen has repeatedly denied that he has run out of money since his playing days ended. TMZ reported that Pippen was denied the ability to sue media outlets by a federal judge in 2012. Pippen attempted to sue a number of media outlets for $1 million each for claiming he was broke.
The all-star forward earned the most money of his career during the 2002-03 season with the Blazers as he made $19.7 million. ESPN’s Marc Spears reported that Pippen’s agents Jimmy Sexton and Kyle Rote recommended that Pippen did not sign the long-term contract with the Bulls that resulted in his lower than market value salary in 1997.
“An NBA agent told me Scottie Pippen’s agents back then were Jimmy Sexton and Kyle Rote. They recommended Pippen not take the bad deal from Bulls, which is why he stayed loyal to them. Agent added that Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf also was not big on giving opt-outs in contracts,” Spears tweeted.