January 2024 was meant to mark a momentous occasion for the Chicago Bulls, but not everything went according to plan. The organization held its inaugural Ring of Honor ceremony on the 11th, which celebrated the accomplishments of both former players and executives. Scottie Pippen was among those being initiated, but he ultimately skipped out on the festivities. Over a week later, another Pippen graced the United Center, and it was the hall of famer’s son, Scotty Jr. That particular occasion marked the point guard’s first time playing in his father’s old stomping grounds, and he spoke out about the experience.
Scotty Pippen Jr. plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, and the team squared off against the Bulls in Chicago on Saturday, January 20. Ultimately, it was the home team that managed to come away with the victory, as they won 125 to 96. It may not have been a close game, but that didn’t seem to sour Pippen on the experience. On X, a fan posted a clip of the 23-year-old athlete driving into the lane for a layup during the game. They also made note of the fact that his famous father’s jersey number hangs in the rafters. Scotty himself reposted the clip and shared a short, but sweet, sentiment:
Dreamed of this moment since [I was] a kid. 🙌🏽🙌🏽 Felt good to be back in Chicago. ✊🏽✊🏽
Such a moment had to have been surreal for the young athlete, and it’s easy to understand why. There’s a lot of basketball history linked to the United Center in general, though the familial connection he has to it all. It’s likely that some of us might’ve been a bit intimidated about playing in the same place that a championship-winning parent once played. However, it seems apparent that Jr. relished the big moment.
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It’s ironic that such an occasion comes shortly after his dad opted not to attend the Bulls’ Ring of Honor ceremony, where the 1995-1996 team, coach Phil Jackson and more were immortalized. Many have speculated about why Scottie Pippen opted not to attend, and some believe it had to do with his feud with former teammate Michael Jordan, who also didn’t show up but sent a video message. That spat was initiated in 2021 after Pippen shared blunt thoughts on ESPN’s The Last Dance docuseries (which is streamable with a Netflix subscription). He said Jordan used to prop himself up without giving due credit to his teammates. Since then, Pippen has also shared other comments on his longtime cohort, even referring to Jordan as a “horrible player.”
Some believed that if the two were to have crossed paths at the event, there would've been fireworks. Charles Barkley even shared savage thoughts, saying that he would’ve loved to have seen just how awkward it might’ve become. Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf addressed the absences of the star former players, admitting that he wasn’t sure just how much effort went into landing them. Though he also admitted that it would’ve been “better if everybody were here.”
While Scottie Pippen’s ties with Michael Jordan and the Bulls organization as a whole remain murky, Scotty seems to be moving right along with his own NBA career. Before signing with Memphis, he played for the Lakers, and he’s steadily been making a name for himself. It’s likely that he’ll continue to keep his pop’s own legacy in mind while staying focused on his own path.