Bulls Legend Rips Phil Jackson for Treatment of Kobe Bryant

Getty Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson

Something has gotten into Scottie Pippen lately, or perhaps, it’s always been in there are he’s choosing to let it all out. Clearly, the Chicago Bulls legend has an axe to grind with legendary head coach Phil Jackson.

For the past few days, Pippen has been making the rounds delivering some eye-popping accusations about former teammates and coaches, while also spewing some candidly critical takes about today’s stars like Ben Simmons and Kevin Durant.

On Monday, Pippen appeared on The Dan Patrick Show and the ESPN legend questioned Pippen about a portion of his interview with GQ that drew some attention over the weekend. Pippen called Phil Jackson racist for electing to give Toni Kukoc the last shot of a playoff game from 1994.

It is the decision that created the 1.8 seconds controversy that somewhat stained Pippen’s legacy. Pippen didn’t just double down on his accusations of racism against Jackson, he also threw the Zen Master under the bus for his treatment of late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. Here is the segment from the Dan Patrick Show. The portion relating to Jackson and Bryant begins at the 1:54 mark.

Pippen: ‘He Tried to Expose Kobe in a Way That He Shouldn’t Have’

Pippen let loose on Jackson in a way that was unlike anything we’ve seen or heard in reference to the former Bulls and Lakers coach.

Pippen said:

Do you remember Phil Jackson left the Lakers and went wrote a book about Kobe Bryant and then came back and coached him? I mean, who would do that? You name someone in professional sports that would do that, you know? I think he tried to expose Kobe in a way that he shouldn’t have. You’re the head coach. You’re the guy that sits in the locker room and tells players this is a circle, and everything stays within the circle, because that’s what team is about. But you as the head coach, open it up, and now you go out and you try to belittle, at that time, probably one of the greatest players in the game.

The follow-up question gave Pippen yet another opportunity to back off of his racial accusations against Jackson, but he again stuck to his guns.

DP: “Feels like he’s disloyal, but I don’t know if that makes him a racist.”

SP: “Well, that’s your way of looking at it, and putting it out, and I have mine.”

The Lingering Effects of the Last Dance

The Last Dance was entertaining, and it gave a younger generation a glimpse of Jordan and the Bulls during their historic run. On the flip side, the documentary painted quite a few people in a negative light.

I’ve spoken to Craig Hodges about the documentary, and his takes were not all that dissimilar to Pippen’s, as it pertains to Jordan. Steve Kerr has never sounded overly pleased with the documentary or the experience. The same can be said for Horace Grant and a few others.

Clearly, Pippen has some wounds from those years. Couple that with the recent loss of his son, and it might paint a clearer understanding of why the Hall-of-Famer is throwing darts.

That doesn’t validate or even excuse his claims, but it might explain his actions.


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