Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone are joining the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as individual NBA players on Friday. They also were part of the legendary Basketball Team U.S.A. of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, also more popularly known as the Dream Team. This once in a lifetime team was composed of Naismith Basketball Hall of Famers like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Clyde Drexler and Chris Mullin.
On Friday night, these individuals reunite as a team to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
This Dream Team was the first ever basketball squad assembled composed of NBA players plus then collegiate standout Christian Laettner. The team was created to seek redemption after the loss of university players in the 1988 Olympics.
What made the Dream Team special was it was composed of legitimate NBA superstars. In fact opposing players watched them in awe as they displayed far superior basketball skills at the Olympics, winning by an average margin of more than 43 points.
The Dream Team reunites on Friday with their assistant coaches. Their head coach Chuck Daly died away last year.
It is so fitting to have Michael Jordan present Scottie Pippen, his former teammate and fellow NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls, to the Professional Basketball Hall of Fame. Jordan and Pippen were the acknowledged Batman and Robin tandem of the Bulls that dominated the 1990s winning six NBA titles.
Pippen throughout his playing career with Jordan and the Chicago Bulls was often overlooked with Jordan being at the forefront. Statistically, his career scoring average of 16 points may be just about half of Jordan’s 30 points per game but they pretty much have identical averages in other areas. Jordan has career averages of 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals while Pippen has 6.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2 steals per game.
Jordan was considered the best player who played basketball while Pippen was a coaches’ dream with his excellent defense and all-around play. Pippen was known to be the toughest perimeter defender, being an 8-time All-Defensive Team member.
Jordan and Pippen won six titles together but they never won a title without the other.
As Pippen decided who should introduce him to the Hall of Fame, it was the easiest decision for him as he chose his Batman.
NBA great Michael Jordan made one mistake as Washington Wizards executive nine years ago. With the number one draft pick in 2001, the Wizards picked Kwame Brown straight out of high school believing he could be another Kevin Garnett. It turned out to be a bust as Brown was clearly not ready for the NBA. Despite being the best basketball player, Jordan was tagged as an incompetent executive as the Wizards and Brown showed very little success.
It is ironic that a failure nine years ago would choose to team up once again. What probably drives Jordan and Brown is a chance to prove pundits wrong. Brown had little success in his NBA career so far. This could be his second chance to make an impact. The Bobcats lost Tyson Chandler to a trade with the Dallas Mavericks. Eric Dampier may likely be waived to clear salary cap space.
The Bobcats signed Brown to a $1.3 million one year deal.
Even Michael Jordan, arguably the best player to ever play in the NBA, has his own opinion of LeBron James’ “Decision”. “There’s no way, with hindsight,” Jordan commented, ”I would’ve ever called up Larry, called Magic and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team’”. This comes off as James taking the easy way out, with a better shot at the NBA championship in the near future.
His Airness may have said these things but we also have to remember that his Chicago Bulls lineup back then had one of the best all-around players in the NBA in Scottie Pippen, top rebounder and defensive player Dennis Rodman, a Sixth Man Awardee in Toni Kukoc and a solid cast of role players.
LeBron James is willing to play second fiddle to Dwayne Wade who is possibly the best player on the team. It will remind us of that Jordan-Pippen duo of the Chicago Bulls dynasty that went on to win two three-peat NBA titles. Only this time, James is stepping back to play Pippen’s role. Chris Bosh provides the extra lift to form a formidable trio. If this is what it takes to win an NBA ring, then James may have made the right decision.