KEY POINTS

  • Phil Jackson recounts in his book the time Michael Jordan commended Scottie Pippen after the 1992 Olympics
  • Jackson says Jordan had to admit Pippen outperformed everybody in "The Dream Team"
  • Pippen doesn't think MJ's "The Last Dance" was accurate

Michael Jordan may have been the greatest basketball player to ever play the game, but apparently, there was a time Scottie Pippen had outshone him.

In 1992, Team USA managed to build what has arguably become the greatest basketball team of all time in the so-called “The Dream Team.”

The said US men’s Olympic national team was stacked with the most talented players of their generation, including Jordan, Pippen, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, and the likes.

Many expected and believed that despite how star-studded the said roster was, Jordan would still be the brightest of them all as he was always a cut above the rest.

But to everyone’s surprise, MJ himself admitted to Phil Jackson that the best player on that team was actually Pippen and not him.

“Michael returned from the games raving about Scottie’s performance,” Jackson wrote in his book “Eleven Rings: The Soul Of Success.” “Before the summer, Michael had regarded Pippen as the most talented member of his supporting cast. But after watching him outplay Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Clyde Drexler, and other future Hall of Famers in Barcelona, Michael realized that Scottie was the best all-around player on what many consider the best basketball team ever assembled.”

“Scottie, Michael had to admit, had even outshone him in several of the games,” he continued.

The 1992 US men’s Olympic basketball team was coached by the late Chuck Daly. Like Jackson, the then-Detroit Pistons head coach also thought Pippen had outperformed everybody on his squad, including Jordan.

“I know Michael’s the best player, but Pippen was the best player on that team,” Daly admitted to renowned NBA writer Sam Smith.

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. Getty Images / Kent Smith

Last year, fans got to get a closer look at the Jordan-Pippen duo of the 90s Chicago Bulls that won six NBA championships in ESPN’s “The Last Dance.”

While many applauded Jordan’s shocking admissions about the team’s legacy, Pippen “wasn’t too pleased” with the accuracy of the documentary.

“I don’t think it ("The Last Dance”) was that accurate in terms of really defining what was accomplished in one of the greatest eras of basketball, but also by two of the greatest players–and one could even put that aside and say the greatest team of all time,” the Hall of Famer told the Guardian last year.

“I didn’t think those things stood out in the documentary,” he added. “I thought it was more about Michael trying to uplift himself and to be glorified. I told him I wasn’t too pleased with it. He accepted it. He said, “hey, you’re right”. That was pretty much it. ”

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