Scottie Pippen says early Michael Jordan was ‘a horrible player,’ praises LeBron

The Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. (Michael Conroy/AP)

NBA legend Scottie Pippen has made a habit of stirring the pot lately, and he was at it again Friday.

The six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls appeared on former teammate Stacey King’s web show Gimme The Hot Sauce and took a shot at the man who many believe to be the greatest basketball player of all time — Michael Jordan.

Pippen, who played with Jordan for 10 seasons, didn’t mince his words when he talked about Jordan’s level of play in Chicago before he arrived.

“I seen Michael Jordan play before I came to play with the Bulls,” Pippen told King. “You guys seen him play. He was a horrible player. He was horrible to play with.”

The Bulls acquired Pippen prior to the 1987 season, with Jordan playing his first three seasons in the league without Pippen by his side. Jordan was named an all-star in all three seasons, and even led the league in scoring in 1986-87.

Not exactly “horrible” by any standards.

But Pippen believes that his arrival followed by the Bulls’ team success, which included an unprecedented six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998, made people forget who Jordan was before he joined.

“He was all one-on-one, he’s shooting bad shots, and all of a sudden, we become a team and we start winning, everybody forgot who he was,” Pippen said.

Tell us how you really feel, Scottie.

Easily one of the best dynamic duos in sports history, Pippen and Jordan’s relationship has been on the rocks ever since the airing of ESPN’s The Last Dance, a 10-part series on the Bulls’ incredible run with Jordan at the helm.

Pippen was unhappy with the way he was depicted on the show, as he felt the series was focused too much on Jordan, rather than the team.

“They glorified Michael Jordan while not giving nearly enough praise to me and my proud teammates,” Pippen wrote in his memoir Unguarded. “Michael deserved a large portion of the blame. The producers had granted him editorial control of the final product.”

What will make Jordan fans even more upset, is that Pippen not only trashed Jordan Friday, but he also praised LeBron James — who is often put head-to-head with Jordan in the greatest of all time debate.

“LeBron will be the greatest statistical guy to ever play the game of basketball,” Pippen said. “And there’s no comparison to him. None.”

He then said he wouldn’t pick a side in the Jordan-LeBron debate, and also seemed to think that maybe it shouldn’t be a debate at all

“So, does that make [James] the greatest player ever to play the game?” Pippen asked. “I’ll leave that out for debating, because I don’t believe that there’s a great player, because our game’s a team game, and one player can’t do it.”

Pippen clearly thinks the Lebron versus Jordan debate is silly, but don’t expect that to stop those in LeBron’s camp from using these quotes for years to come as the never-ending argument drags on.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.