‘Bats**t’ crazy’: Bulls star Scottie Pippen says coach Phil Jackson is racist, social media has questions

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author

Six world championships and millions of dollars later, former Chicago Bulls player Scottie Pippen is accusing the head coach behind it all of racism.

Of course, with a new bourbon to sell and a memoir coming soon, the Hall of Fame player could use a few headlines.

His evidence that former head coach Phil Jackson, who not only led Chicago to six world championships, but moved out west and led the Los Angeles Lakers to five of their own, is racist is because he made a “racial move” by not giving Pippen the last-second shot in a 1994 playoff game against the Knicks.

Instead, Jackson drew up a shot for a white player, Croatian forward Toni Kukoc. No slouch himself, Kukoc hit the game-winner. Meanwhile, Pippen was busy throwing a tantrum on the bench, having refused to return to the game with 1.8 seconds left.

On Monday, Pippen appeared on “The Dan Patrick Show,” and was asked about the “racial move” remark he made about the Hall of Fame coach who was named one of the 10 greatest coaches in NBA history while speaking to the liberal men’s magazine GQ.

“By saying it was a racial move then you’re calling Phil Jackson a racist…” Patrick said.

“I don’t have a problem with that,” the former player replied.

Patrick asked, “Do you think Phil was?” and Pippen didn’t skip a beat: “Oh yeah..”

Legendary player Michael Jordan had retired at the end of 1993 and Pippen wanted to be seen as the Bulls’ leader.

“One year without Michael Jordan. Can I get one shot? Like, I’m doing all the dirty work,” Pippen said. “Why would Toni, who was a rookie, get the last-second shot and you put me out of bounds? That’s what I mean racial.”

(He also pointed to Jackson being critical of Kobe Bryant in his 2004 book as further evidence of his racism.)

Yet, there’s so much wrong with his play analysis, it’s hard to know where to begin.

For starters, a social media user shared a clip of the play that proceeded Kukoc’s shot. A play that featured Pippen taking and missing a shot.

Another social media user pointed to the documentary The Last Dance, to note that Jackson explained that the play he called was run successfully earlier in the season.

As for his upcoming book, Pippen has apparently grown weary of being known as Jordan’s sidekick.

Here’s more from GQ:

Pippen is tired of playing the second fiddle. And he’s willing to make that known. His announcement earlier this year that he would be publishing a tell-all account of his time with the Bulls was striking for a player who’s rarely gone in depth about his past. And in the first time since that declaration, he dives into his claims about the Bulls: how he was the “real leader” of the organization, how he deserved more respect from the press and the front office, and how he, not Jordan, “earned” the credit for the Bulls’ historic rise.


Social media users sympathetic to Pippen did take note of the fact that he lost his eldest child, Antron, 33, in April. No cause of death was given in the announcement.

Nonetheless, there is no way Pippen comes off looking good here — here’s a quick sampling of responses from Twitter:


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Tom Tillison


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