There was apparently a time when the Chicago Bulls all-time great shooting guard Michael Jordan knew that Scottie Pippen was better all-around.
The most illustrious part of the Chicago Bulls history, by a good margin, came throughout the 1990’s. And that was largely thanks to a few very notable Hall-of-Famers and the legendary head coach Phil Jackson. A lot of this came to a head in the 1992 Summer Olympics, where the “Dream Team” made waves in Barcelona, Spain.
And The Basketball Network recently rehashed a piece that discussed when Jackson noticed something with two of his best players ever. The original discussion happened in a piece from back in 2015 with the 20 Second Timeout.
It’s hard to believe for someone with the mindset of the Bulls all-time great shooting guard Michael Jordan, but there was a time when he realized that there was someone out there better than him in some respects. His former Bulls teammate and fellow Hall-of-Famer Scottie Pippen was good enough all-around to apparently give him thoughts that he could be better all-around.
Apparently it was those Summer Olympics and that 1992 Dream Team that made Jordan realize how good Pippen actually was on both ends of the floor. Given that Pippen was one of the team leaders in steals and defensive rebounds, that makes a lot of sense. Jordan and Pippen absolutely dismantled their opponents in those Summer Olympics on both ends of the floor.
So was Pippen actually a better all-around player than Jordan?
The limited body of work that basketball fans saw from back in the 1992 Summer Olympics from Jordan and Pippen is one thing. But having an entire body of work for an NBA career is completely different.
If we’re judging by basic modern advanced metrics, Jordan holds a defensive rating for his career slightly worse than Pippen (103 compared to 102). But Jordan barely holds the edge in defensive box plus/minus rating (2.0 to 1.8). Obviously Jordan holds the edge in pretty much every major offensive per game and advanced metric over Pippen. He has a lot of those records to his name in general.
It is great to see that there was a time that Jordan gave the spotlight completely to Pippen, instead of the other way around. This shows a different side of Jordan, even compared to the one we saw in the 10-part hit Emmy-winning documentary series “The Last Dance”.