“Sorry Michael Jordan”: Scottie Pippen Called 76ers Legend the NBA GOAT Over LeBron James and Others in His Book

Published 11/27/2022, 9:30 AM EST
MIAMI, FL – FEBRUARY 04: Scottie Pippen Attends Market America Conference 2016 at American Airlines Arena on February 4, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)

Scottie Pippen released his memoir, Unguarded, in the latter half of 2021. The book takes readers through Pippen’s journey as he narrates his perspective on his career and the league. While doing so, he also gets candid about his life struggles. Very early on in the book, Pippen declares a certain Philadelphia 76ers legend to be the NBA’s greatest player of all time.

Scottie Pippen spent hours playing ball on the courts of Pine Street, Arkansas. It was on these courts that Pippen fell in love with the game of basketball. He writes about how the courts on Pine Street let him practice and play for hours. Pippen found the nylon nets and concrete flooring of the court to be impressive.


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Scottie Pippen’s take on NBA’s GOAT

For Pippen, the Pine Street courts were a place “for a kid to dream.” That is what Pippen did. He dreamt of all the big things that would eventually come true. Having said that, Pippen also dreamt about being Julius Erving, aka Dr. J, on the court.

He’d try imitating the Hall of Famer’s famous dunk. To Pippen, Dr. J was from another galaxy. He apparently could never take his eyes off Dr. J. In his book, he applauds the 76ers legend’s charisma while being mesmerized by his action of “gliding through the air” to execute a dunk or a shot.

Following this, Pippen declared Dr.J to be the greatest NBA player of all time. He said, There has been no one in the sport like Dr. J ever since. Sorry, MJ (Michael Jordan). Sorry, Magic (Johnson). Sorry, LeBron (James).” 

Scottie Pippen played more like Mo Cheeks

Pippen tried to be like Dr. J. However, he believes that many of his teammates would claim him to be similar to former NBA champion Maurice (Mo) Cheeks.

Supposedly, the kids on Pine Courts would address Pippen as Mo Cheeks. In the words of the six-time champion, he couldn’t have asked for a better compliment. Having said that, the similarities between Pippen and Mo Cheeks are rather uncanny.


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19 Oct 1999: Scottie Pippen #33 of the Portland TrailBlazers talks to coach Mike Dunleavy during the game against the Seattle SuperSonics at the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. The TrailBlazers defeated the SuperSonics 108-100.

The two are Hall of Famers and are placed one after the other on the list of most steals. Mo Cheeks and Pippen’s paths first crossed when Pippen played for the Portland Trail Blazers while Mo coached the same team.

During his high school days, Pippen found it easier to copy Mo Cheeks because, unlike Dr.J, “Mo seemed to come from this galaxy.” However, he never stopped himself from imitating his favorite, Dr. J.


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What is your take on Pippen’s choice? Let us know in the comments below.



Shriya Rajachandra

429 articles

Shriya Rajachandra is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. She earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism, Psychology, and Communicative English. Shriya previously interned at The New Indian Express, but her favorite journalist, Marcus Thompson motivated her to start writing about basketball.

Edited By: Jayant Chhabra