KEY POINTS

  • Scottie Pippen's comments on Phil Jackson has become a hot subject
  • Shaquille O'Neal and Robert Horry refute Pippen's claim
  • The then-Bulls forward is coming out with a new book and bourbon brand

Two Los Angeles Lakers legend have different take on Scottie Pippen’s bold claim about Phil Jackson.

In a recent exclusive interview with GQ, Pippen addressed some of the most sensitive issues in his career, including his infamous in-game rift with Jackson in the 1994 NBA Playoffs against the New York Knicks.

According to Pippen, Jackson’s decision to let then-Bulls forward Toni Kukoc take the game-winning shot wasn’t a really strategic plan and more of a “racial move.”

"I don't think it's a mystery, you need to read between the fine lines," Pippen pointed out. "It was my first year playing without Michael Jordan, why wouldn't I be taking that last shot? I been through all the ups and downs, the battles with the  Pistons  and now you gonna insult me and tell me to take it out? I thought it was a pretty low blow.”

“I felt like it was an opportunity to give [Kukoc] a rise,” he continued. “It was a racial move to give him a rise. After all I've been through with this organization, now you're gonna tell me to take the ball out and throw it to Toni Kukoc? You're insulting me. That's how I felt."

Phil Jackson Phil Jackson last coached in the 2011 NBA Playoffs.

It didn’t take long before some of Jackson’s former players shared their thoughts on the matter.

For NBA legend Robert Horry, who won three of his seven championships with Jackson and the Lakers, the “Zen Master” was “no racist.”

However, Horry also recalled that there was one instance where he got kind of confused with Jackson’s instructions.

"We were in the huddle and Phil [Jackson] was like, 'You need to know the sound of your master's voice,'” Horry said on “The Big Shot Bob Pod” podcast. "I looked at him, I was like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, nah, we don't do that. I'm from the South.'"

"I said, 'Dude, that's too close, that's too close,' and I knew where he was trying to come across as saying, because, in the arenas, you need to understand and hear your person that is trying to lead you,” he remembered. "I understand, I said, but there's certain words you can use and I'm like, 'We ain't that close yet.' [But] I don't think Phil is racist at all. I don't."

Legendary Lakers big man Shaquille O’Neal, on the other hand, speculated that Pippen’s recent claims were all “marketing.”

For O’Neal, the fact that Pippen is coming out with a new book and own bourbon line seemingly explains it all.

“I don’t want to get involved in other people’s beef, but Phil [Jackson] is definitely not a racist,” O’Neal told FanSided’s Mark Carman. “What he said about [Charles] Barkley makes a lot of sense, but he’s coming out with a new drink and a new book. Maybe this is all marketing.”

Shaquille O'Neal Shaquille O'Neal, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Sept. 9, 2016, is not in favor of Jill Stein's recount. Photo: Getty