KEY POINTS

  • Scottie Pippen was upset about not being tasked to take the last-second shot in a playoff game in 1994
  • Jordan explains why Pippen thought he deserved to take the said shot
  • The six-time NBA champ shares why not all players can hit game-winning shots

Michael Jordan had an interesting reaction to the moment Scottie Pippen thought he should’ve taken a game-winning shot.

During Jordan’s first NBA hiatus in 1994, the Chicago Bulls managed to make it to the second round of the playoffs where they faced their then-arch-rivals New York Knicks.

Heading into the series, Pippen was easily the team’s most efficient player, averaging 25.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists.

However, the Jordan-less Bulls found themselves down 0-2 in the series and had to make the last-second shot in Game 3.

The game was on the line with the score tied at 102 apiece and only 1.8 seconds remaining.

Without his most clutch player on the floor, Bulls head coach Phil Jackson decided to devise a strategic play for Toni Kukoc, something Pippen did not appreciate.

The upset Pippen refused to check back into the game after the timeout, and Jackson had to make a late substitution.

Fortunately for the Bulls, Kukoc’s game-winning shot went in at the buzzer and gave Chicago the win.

In an extensive exclusive interview with Andrea Kremer of ESPN, Jordan weighed in on the subject and shared his honest opinion on Pippen’s infamous playoff moment.

According to Jordan, Pippen just simply thought that “he earned” the respect to take matters into his own hands in games where the best player is not on the floor.

“He wouldn’t have sat,” Jordan said when asked about what could’ve possibly happened if he was in the said game. “I think that was a part of Scottie in his maturity in a sense of where he thought he was.”

“He wanted that last-second shot,” the multiple-time NBA champion continued. “He thought he earned that respect because, at the time that I was here, he was throwing the ball in. So when I left, it’s like we should switch places, he should take that shot.”

Michael Jordan Scottie Pippen Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen having a little chat in the middle of a game against Charlotte Hornets in May 1998. Photo: Getty Images / Kent Smith

Throughout his stellar NBA career, Jordan has hit a number of game-winning shots that became a huge part of his legacy.

In 2019, Jordan stressed that the reason why not all players hit game-winning shots is that some just don’t know how to take the pressure off their shoulders and doubt themselves from the outset.

"Some guys in the league right now, their regular seasons are different than the playoffs. Why is that? Because it's a different kind of pressure. Those guys, when it gets stripped down, don't believe in themselves. They aren't sure they can hit the big shot, so they can't. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy," Jordan explained.

"If you have doubt or concern about a shot, or feel the 'pressure' of that shot, it's because you haven't practiced it enough," he added. "The only way to relieve that pressure is to build your fundamentals, practice them over and over.”