Slamadamonth, SLAM #29: Scottie Pippen

Originally published in SLAM 29

Watching Larry Bird stand expressionless on the sidelines for an entire season was strange enough. When he carried it over into the Eastern Conference Finals, it was actually scary. And when he stayed stone-faced through the whirlwind end of Game Four, you started to wonder whether he had actually died earlier in the season and just forgotten to fall down. For anyone who watched him play—talking non-stop trash on the court and teaching M.L. Carr a thing or two about towel-waving on the bench—a solid Bird was unthinkable. You couldn’t help but wonder, “What’s going on in that head of his? How can he stay so calm?”

Well, we had our psychic recorders trained on Larry Legend during this Game Three sequence, when Scottie Pippen pretended Travis Best was Jerry Krause. Let’s listen in:

“…damn SI, that’s the last time I take a paternity test. Wait a minute, who’s got the ball? Mullin? Oh God, don’t take it inside, Pippen’s gonna—ouch. Shoulda settled for the three, Chris. I would have. Wow, nice outlet by Longley. Didn’t know he could do that. Now Pip’s got it three-on-one with Jordan and that guard from Chicago who never plays, and there’s nobody back for us except that point guard. What’s his name? Doesn’t matter. He wouldn’t be out there if Jackson could get the ball past half-court. Hell, he can’t get it past our free-throw line with Pippen on him. Pippen. Who ever thought he would ever amount to anything? Sat on the back of the bus during the ‘92 Olympics, gloating over that big contract he’d just signed. Yeah? Who’s laughing now, Scottie? Who’s laughing now??? Whoops, almost lost it there. Gotta stay stone. Stone! What was it Jerry Sichting used to tell me? Oh yeah, ‘Pass me the ball, Larry! PASS ME THE BALL!!! I’m OPEN, you overrated piece of @#!$#@!’ That was pretty funny. I wonder what Jerry’s doing now?

“Now Jordan gets it. I’d yell at Travis to get on him, but Jordan’ll get the call anyway. It’s just like in ‘86. I tried to tell Ainge to lay off, but did he listen? No, of course not. I was gonna yell at him, but he probably woulda cried. Whining little puke. Gives up 63 to Jordan on our home floor. Oh well, at least I’m Coach of the Year. I don’t know what I’d do if he won. Quit, probably.

“Oh great, Jordan gives it back to Pippen right down the middle of the lane. This is gonna be…oh, Travis don’t step in there. You’re just gonna…ouch.”

Russ Bengtson