For the release of his autobiography “Libéré” published by Hugo Sport, Scotty Pippen turned himself in to Baskettime, the RMC Sport podcast. In this interview, the Chicago Bulls legend confides in his journey, his relationship with Michael Jordan and also his version of the documentary the last dance.
Scotty, what prompted you to write this autobiography called “Ungarded” (“Liberated”, published by Hugo Sport)?
I wrote this book to give my side, and show people who Scottie Pippen really is. To show my story, my journey.
Documentary release the last danceProduced by ESPN with the editorial control Michael Jordan had, did he also push you to release your version of the facts, your story?
It wasn’t the documentary that prompted me to write the book. The trigger was not at all. when the last dance I came out and I’ve already started writing it. I don’t think it changed the essence of the book, but it made it evolve.
From the beginning of the book, we understand the hardships you went through when you were younger. It is reported that your brother Ronnie was the victim of an assault that unfortunately left him disabled. Your father also had a stroke. I took care of them very young. What does Scotty look like? Pepin Today on Scotty Pepin Yesterday, who had to manage so many things at the same time?
(laughs) I didn’t let the ups and downs of life reach me. I never expected my way, but I always dreamed that I would get there one day. I worked like crazy until I reached my dream.
Has basketball somehow pulled you out of those difficulties? or enable you? Helped you grow to overcome it all?
I think basketball has helped me in many areas. It helped me understand teamwork. I played many different sports when I was a kid. Basketball, baseball, football and athletics. Sports no longer hold any secrets for me. The importance of the group that you were able to practice in basketball. I was able to use everything I learned in other basketball sports. Cutting passing lines, knowing how to take offensive fouls, are all important points to be a good defender. I took from all sports to become a complete basketball player.
By taking the book on Michael Jordan’s part, you’re bringing up his insensitivity to you and your teammates. What are you trying to say about him? At the beginning of the book you have harsh words against him. The more you progress through it, the more your relationship seems to be developing. Even though you weren’t the best of friends, by the end of the book you seem to understand better why it appears that way.
This is a very deep question. I don’t quite know how to answer it. I think the book tells you a lot about our relationship. Who we were he and I.
Was there a turning point in this relationship in 1992? When you join Team USA it is definitely one of the best moments of your career. All those nights with Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing and Michael Jordan playing cards. Did that make you closer to Michael? Because you were in a different place than the Bulls?
No, I wouldn’t really say it affected our relationship. Michael has always kept a certain distance. He didn’t get us close. For years we have grown up together looking for each other’s flaws. We did it all together, and we grew together. In rehearsals, even in the summer, we pushed each other. The important thing was not our relationship outside the basketball courts. The important thing was to win together.
A very accurate section of the book now… It’s the passage where you conjure the death of James Jordan, Michael Jordan’s father, in 1993. A very tough summer for you if we remember the facts. You’ve tried to contact Michael Jordan to offer your condolences. I called people from Bulls management to talk to him because you didn’t have his phone number! Would you like to add something about this episode or at least explain why it happened like this? Because at that time you couldn’t talk to him about it until months later. Today’s fans may be wondering how scotty beiben, Michael Jordan’s teammate, with everything they’ve been through together, never had his phone number?
Really good back then, phones weren’t used as they are today. Sometimes we didn’t have a phone. I don’t really know why it happened like this. Communication with others was not as important at that time. Maybe that’s why, I don’t use it as an excuse. Maybe I wasn’t mature enough to know how to handle this kind of situation.
Could this episode have had an effect on your relationship then, even if you both are still in touch today?
No I do not think. It just happened. Michael took a step back from the game and basketball in general. There are bound to be questions about that moment, but I think that’s what he really wanted.
Now let’s talk a little more about the player than the man. This extraordinary career fueled 6 NBA titles. This is the embodiment of the team player and put the team first. On a personal level, do you have any regrets about the differences and the things you deserved and didn’t get in the end?
I have no regrets. I think I am very happy with what I have accomplished. It was fun and full of accomplishments so I have no regrets. I can’t tell myself, I should have done this or done it this way because it would bring into question all that I have been able to achieve.
Reading the book, you see all those people who chart your path and who care about you. We can mention for example Muggsy Bogues, the former Charlotte Hornets goalkeeper I played with during the famous NBA camp in Portsmouth. Are you still in contact with these people today?
I have contacts with dozens of my former colleagues. The ones I’ve talked to the most are (Horace) Grant and Ron Harper. I meet guys from time to time and we talk now and then.
Ask any of your former colleagues to call you to thank you for writing and for telling the story or another aspect of the story told in the documentary. the last dance ?
No one called to thank me even though I sent them copies of the book.
A word on today’s Chicago Bulls who finished a great season in sixth place In the Eastern Conference with 46 wins. Even though they were eliminated by the Bucks in the first round of the playoffs, what do you think of their season?
They weren’t ready. They had injury problems. They lost their point (Lonzo Ball) very early in the season. It was their first problem. It weakened during the season when expectations were high. There were various problems. When you play the defending champion you have to be ready. When you meet them in the first round, that’s the kind of thing that can happen to you. They are able to overcome that.
The last question for the future. One of your kids, Scotty Pepin Junior, is running for enlistment this summer. How do you see his career taking shape?
I see a good career for him. He has so much heart and potential!