During his interview with DJ Vlad, John Salley described Scottie Pippen as « the most skilled player he’s ever played with, » insinuating that he was even more skilled than Michael Jordan. Fast forward a few months, and Gary Payton did the same thing while guesting on the same show.
« Scottie Pippen was that guy »
Unlike Salley, The Glove never got to play with either of the two. He did, however, face them in the 1996 NBA Finals, when his Seattle SuperSonics lost the six-game series that kicked off the Bulls’ second three-peat run.
Payton didn’t have the inside scoop every Bull, including Salley, had, nor was he around Scottie and Michael daily. However, from what he had seen when playing against them and following their NBA careers, GP couldn’t help but agree with John.
« As an all-around basketball player that can change the game, Scottie Pippen was that guy. He can guard everybody, he can score, he’ll do everything, he’ll make a big assist, he’ll make the big block, he’ll do things like that. I think that’s what he was saying; the best player that makes everybody around better. Michael was just a guy who would score and make the big shots and make the big things. »
Gary Payton, Vlad TV
The interdependence of Scottie and Michael is the epitome of the NBA’s polarizing topics. How much did one impact the other? How different would Pippen have been as a player had he played without MJ and vice versa? How big of an impact did Scottie have on the Bulls’ road to becoming a dynasty?