Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Friday, February 16, 2007

Happy Hour 02/16: Who Will #2 Work For?

Well, Natalie just beat me to this topic, but over lunch, I noticed that Scottie Pippen is thinking of calling it a comeback for one NBA lucky playoff contender this season. And it was at that point that my digestive system was considering what exactly to do with the sandwich I was scarfing down.

Let me try to be clear about this: I despised Scottie Pippen when he was Michael Jordan's #2 with the Chicago Bulls. It delights me that he still takes crap about sitting out the seventh game of a 1990 playoff series against the Pistons because of a migraine, in what might be one of the most infamous wuss-outs in NBA history. Four years later, Pippen also threw one of the most infamous snits in NBA history when he refused to play the final two seconds of a playoff game because Phil Jackson dared to run a play for Toni Kukoc (who ended up hitting the game-winning shot) instead of him.

And when Jerry Krause decided to break the band up after the Bulls' 1998 NBA title, Pippen opted to find another team with which he could tag along for a championship ride. He actually had a pretty good gig in Houston because he didn't have to be anyone's #2. He could be #3 to Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley. But that didn't work out for him, so he headed off to Portland where he could again play second, third, or fourth fiddle alongside Rasheed Wallace, Steve Smith, and Damon Stoudamire. No sense in putting any pressure on himself, right?

Pippen's Trail Blazers bandwagon never picked up any trophies either - though they came oh-so-close to an NBA Finals bid in 2000, but lost Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals after blowing a 13-point fourth quarter lead. But nobody's ever been able to squeeze more glory out of being a sidekick than Pippen. Hell, he took being a #2 all the way to that 50 Greatest NBA Players of All Time list.

So now, three years after taking a farewell lap with the Bulls, Pippen (now 41 years old) wants to make another hobo championship run, looking for another title-contending train to hop onto. According to alleged blog hater Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune (I think he's getting a bad rap there, by the way. Read what he actually said, not just the pull quotes), Pippen thinks he could not only make a contribution on the floor, but on the bench too, as kind of a player/coach. And the list of teams he could help - Suns, Lakers, Nuggets, Rockets, Spurs, Timberwolves, Heat, Cavaliers - is pretty long. Basically, if you have a winning record this season, your NBA team might be getting a call from Pippen's agent.

The only contender that Smith doesn't mention in his article is the Pistons. And here's where we're back to the indigestion I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Pippen might rule out DEE-troit BAS-ket-ball, thinking he could offer more to another team. And he's probably right about that. But - and I can't believe I'm writing this - Pippen could certainly help the Pistons. Many observers have assumed that Joe Dumars is still looking for one more piece to complete this year's team, especially someone that can help on the perimeter. And Pippen fills a lot of needs on Joe D's checklist.

He could back up Chauncey Billups at point guard. He can shoot the three. He can also back up Tayshaun Prince at small forward, where - perhaps most importantly - he could supply another body to stick on Gilbert Arenas, LeBron James, or Dwyane Wade in a playoff series. And as much as I've ripped Pippen here, he's been a good defensive player with a talent for steals. About the only thing he wouldn't help the Pistons with is getting rid of Flip Murray and Nazr Mohammed in exchange for his services.

I like to consider myself a proud man. But I could be persuaded to root for a jersey. I've already made significant progress in that area with Chris Webber. And hey, I've had plenty of practice converting my disdain for a former Chicago rival into admiration and support with Chris Chelios. If you had told the Ian of 10 Years Ago that Chelios would not only join the Red Wings, but also become one of his favorite players, Ian of 10 Years Ago might have taken a swing at you, and also tried to kick you as he was being held back.

So anything's possible. But wait a minute... is that a migraine I feel developing in my forehead?

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  • At February 17, 2007 11:15 AM, Anonymous Jeff said…

    If Scottie Pippen rode the Pistons bandwagon to an NBA title, I think I would vomit uncontrollably watching him mug with the Larry O'Brien Trophy in the Pistons' red, white, and blue. Like Claude Lemieux, Patrick Roy, and Ron Artest, there are few players who could NEVER pull on a Detroit jersey-and Pippen is one of them. I still hate that dude.


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