Scottie Pippen is perhaps one of the most slept on players of all time. Which is strange, because he is also regularly recognized as a very good player. The problem is, he played along with Michael Jordan, so his impact could never be fully registered. People these days have not been able to fully see Pippen’s shine because he played alongside a star that shined much brighter. The second installment of The Last Dance opens with Pippen’s journey to the NBA. Let’s take a look at The Last Dance recap: Episode Two.
He came from a small town called Hamburg, Arkansas, and shared his home with 11 other siblings. After a tough childhood, he went to a D-2 college and became the basketball team’s manager. After a growth spurt to 6’8″, he became a standout and was drafted fifth by the Supersonics. On the draft night, he was then moved to the Bulls in a trade for Olden Polynice.
After the fifth Bulls championship in 1997, Scottie Pippen came out of the postseason hobbled by an ankle injury. He opted to wait until closer to the season to get surgery, rather than messing up his summer plans with rehab and recovery. This meant the Bulls would be starting the season without him, and they were vulnerable. Michael Jordan took this upon himself to lead his team to a sixth Finals appearance, and their sixth finals win. He knew that he needed to toughen his team up to achieve this though.
If anyone knows toughness, it is definitely Michael Jordan. In 1985 Jordan sustained an injury to his right foot. He broke it, three games into his second NBA season. He missed 64 games and returned for the last 15. Jerry Krause gave explicit orders to keep MJ at 14 minutes a game, seeing no reason to risk re-injury, and thinking they’d get a better draft pick by missing the playoffs. However, the team ended up rallying and making the playoffs. MJ was taken off the minutes’ restriction and faced off against Larry Bird and the Celtics in the first round. Jordan had two of his legendary performances in this series, scoring 49 and 63 points consecutively.
The docuseries has done a fantastic job so far of introducing viewers to the main players from this time and setting up a villain for the narrative. It’s safe to say that the American public’s attention has been captured. Be sure to tune in to the next part of the saga on ESPN, April 26, at 9 PM E.T. And stay checked in here at Above The Rim for more recaps, breakdowns, and all the basketball content you could want!