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A Letter To Scottie Pippen, 14 Years After He Left The Bulls

Dear Scottie,

You’ve come a long way.

Fourteen years ago today you were signed-and-traded to the Houston Rockets, following Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson out the door. Your feud with former Chicago Bulls GM Jerry Krause cemented the end to one of sports’ greatest dynasties—and sent the Bulls into a tailspin they’ve only recently recovered from.

scottie_pippen_artYou hated the Bulls then and even said as much.

“Let’s face it,” you told Sports Illustrated, “the organization up there stinks.”

Well, let’s face it: things only got worse for you in Houston. The chemistry experiment with Charles Barkley blew up; you got popped (and later cleared) for DUI; and after just one disappointing season you were shipped off to Portland.

At least Portland started out well. You led the Trail Blazers to 59 wins and a 15-point lead over the Lakers in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals.

But then everything went to hell. You lost that game and never again came close to winning a ring without Michael.

But look where you are now.

You came back to Chicago for a last hurrah in 2003 and thawed relations with the Bulls. In the following years, your reputation as one of the game’s most underappreciated players grew. Once considered an immature and petulant sidekick, you’re now a part-time broadcaster and respected elder statesman of the game.

These days, you sit courtside every night and serve as a senior adviser to Michael Reinsdorf, the son of the owner whose organization you railed against so back in 1999.

Scottie, it’s been 14 years since you went to Houston. And we’re ever so glad you came back.

Fondly,

ChicagoSide

STORY ART: Illustration by Alan Kim/cc.

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