In a new interview, Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen expressed frustration with the media for the fact that he never won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) award, suggesting that teammate Michael Jordan took the focus off his efforts.
“I think they were too busy watching Michael,” Pippen said.
Pippen played for the Bulls for the first 11 seasons of his NBA career. His time in the league lasted until 2004. While he was the fifth overall pick of the 1987 NBA Draft, Pippen often saw his career efforts get overshadowed by Jordan’s iconic on-court feats.
However, Pippen and Jordan were the central components of a Bulls dynasty that saw the franchise win six NBA titles in an eight-year span from 1991 to 1998.
Over the course of Pippen’s career, he averaged 2.0 steals per game and led the league with 2.9 steals per contest during the 1994-95 season.
Despite achieving such an impressive number, it was Denver Nuggets center Dikembe Mutombo who ended up winning the DOPY award for the 1994-95 campaign.
To further add to Pippen’s frustration, Jordan was the only Bulls player to win the DPOY award during Pippen’s time with the franchise. That came during the 1987-88 season, Pippen’s rookie year.
The fact that Pippen was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on the first ballot should be a good indication of just how great he was. However, it’s clear that the absence of a DPOY award still gnaws at Pippen.