Chicago Bulls: Rodman says Pippen was ‘best player in the world’ in 1993

(Photo credit should read STEVE SCHAEFER/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo credit should read STEVE SCHAEFER/AFP via Getty Images) /

Night one of “The Last Dance” showed a lot of heat in the contract situation that was brewing between Scottie Pippen and the Chicago Bulls front office.

The highly anticipated premier of the 10-part documentary series featuring the Chicago Bulls 1997-98 final title team of the dynasty years called “The Last Dance” dropped on April 19. Over the weekend, a large portion of basketball fans around the country watched as they got to relive a lot of what they watched out of all-time great shooting guard Michael Jordan back in the late 1990’s.

That 1997-98 Bulls team featured other prominent players that really helped get that sixth and final title of the dynasty years. Two of the most significant are multi-time rebounding champ and big man Dennis Rodman and seven-time All-NBA forward Scottie Pippen.

An enamoring focus of the first night of The Last Dance docuseries was the contract situation and friction with the front office surrounding Scottie. As an eventual Hall-of-Famer that didn’t even rank among the 120 highest paid players in the NBA in 1997-98 (and throughout much of the 1990’s in general), Pippen definitely wasn’t getting his due.

A lot of that fault is on him since he was the one that signed a contract that extended throughout seven years, for around $18 million. Still, the way that owner Jerry Reinsdorf and former general manager Jerry Krause handled his situation throughout much of the 1990’s was pretty bad.

A time when Pippen really showed the value he brought to the table was in the year and a half or so when Jordan tried his hand playing baseball.

Rodman stated on ESPN that he felt like Pippen was the “best player in the world” during the 1993 and 1994 runs when Jordan was with the Chicago White Sox organization, on April 20.

Here’s more on what Rodman had to say on Pippen’s play for the Bulls in the absence of MJ.

"“If you notice about Scottie Pippen, when Michael Jordan left in ’93, ’94, ’95 — Scottie Pippen was the best player in the world,” said Rodman during a Monday guest appearance on ESPN. “If people didn’t know that — he led the team in every category. Every category.”“Scottie got his wings in 1991 when they beat the Detroit Pistons. He got his wings then, and he started on that tram from winning three championships. When Michael left, Scottie took over and next thing you know he was the best player in the world. People don’t know that.”"

Pippen was surely a superstar for the Bulls in the absence of Jordan. But was he the best player int he world? The numbers don’t really agree with that statement.

In his first full season without Jordan as a teammate, Pippen played in 72 regular season games. He averaged 22.0 points per game, 8.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 2.9 steals, while shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 32.0 percent from beyond the arc. He would post a career best 7.7 box plus/minus rating and .194 win shares per 48 minutes.

Pippen would finish third in the final MVP voting in 1994. He would also be named the 1994 NBA All-Star Game MVP. Beyond that, he ranked ninth in the NBA in win shares per 48 minutes, third in box plus/minus rating, and fifth in value over replacement player rating.

The 1993-94 season was clearly one of the best statistically of Pippen’s career. He was very arguably one of the three or five best players in the NBA, and still guided the Bulls on decent playoff run in the absence of Jordan. And it’s great to hear his teammates holding him in such high regard in the midst of the release of The Last Dance docuseries.

Next. Shocking revelations from "The Last Dance" night one. dark

Parts three and four of The Last Dance are set to release on April 26. The next night of the docuseries will focus closer on Rodman, instead of Pippen like the first night did.