Ranking the 50 greatest NBA players of all time

The Last Dance, Michael Jordan, LeBron James (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The Last Dance, Michael Jordan, LeBron James (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images /

25. Scottie Pippen

  • Resume: 17 seasons, 6 NBA championships, 7-time All-NBA selection, 7-time NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP, 10-time NBA All-Defensive Team, 1-time NBA leader in steals, member of the Dream Team, Hall-of-Famer
  • Stats: 16.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.2 APG, 2.0 SPG, .473/.326/.704 shooting splits, 18.6 career PER, 125.1 win shares

The duo of Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan is without a doubt the greatest two-man tandem in the history of the NBA. But Pippen is hard to place on this kind of list because he’s simultaneously overrated and underrated at the same time.

Overrated: Playing with the greatest player of all time (slight spoiler alert) is certainly going to make you a better player. When Jordan took his baseball sabbatical, Pippen’s individual numbers were impressive, but the Chicago Bulls weren’t going anywhere without His Airness at the helm. We can comfortably assume his career would’ve gone much differently if the Bulls had never traded for him on draft night.

Underrated: Just because he played with MJ doesn’t mean he was anything less than one of the most versatile players and incredible wing defenders the league has ever seen. Pippen is one of four players in NBA history to ever lead his team in all five statistical categories for a season and without MJ, he still carried the Bulls to 55 wins and the playoffs in 1994.

Pippen had some growing up to do in his early years, and until he was ready, Jordan’s Bulls never advanced past those brutal Bad Boys Pistons teams. But once Scottie was ready, Chicago became a title contender for nearly a decade, as well as one of the league’s best defenders, secondary scoring punches and high-flying finishers in transition. Pippen may never escape Jordan’s shadow, but Mike is the only person who’s ever played for the Bulls who isn’t living under Pippen’s shadow.