Michael Jordan on Coming Back From Retirement in 1996: “Scottie Pippen Is One of the Reasons I Came Back. If He Goes, I’m Going Again”

Published 12/25/2021, 11:45 AM EST
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – JUNE 11: Michael Jordan #23 and Scottie Pippen #33 of the Chicago Bulls celebrate after winning game five of the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz on June 11, 1997 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Andy Hayt/NBAE/Getty Images)


Michael Jordan displayed his exceptional proficiency on the basketball court during his 15 year NBA career. Bedazzling the court, he also led the Chicago Bulls to NBA glory in the 90s. Playing alongside Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and others, NBA fans considered him as the leader of the Bulls team. An old video shows Jordan revealing how much he valued Pippen’s contribution to the team.

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While speaking to the media, Michael Jordan spoke about his admiration for Scottie Pippen. Jordan spoke to the media during a post-game conference following the 1996 NBA Finals which the Chicago Bulls won. He revealed Pippen to be one of the reasons for his return from retirement.

Jordan said, “He is not going anywhere. He is not going – he is one of the reasons I came back. If he leaves, I am leaving again. Yeah I hope he’s around. A lot of people doubted Scottie Pippen for a long period of time. And he has become like a little brother to me. I am very happy that he could come back today and answer to a lot of the critics that kinda criticized him.”

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He added saying, “And to his credit and to the work that he’s done, the 18 months that I was away. I’m very blessed to be a part of his team and seen him grow so much in the last eight years. It’s truly a blessing for the city of Chicago and certainly for me.”

Pippen and Jordan formed a formidable partnership on the court for the Bulls. Pippen played for the Bulls between 1987 to 1998. He won six NBA titles during his time at the Bulls.

Jordan kick-started his NBA career in 1984 at the Bulls.

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Michael Jordan and his second spell at the Bulls

In his first spell at the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan won three NBA titles between 1991 to 1993. He then announced his shock retirement in 1993, to the astonishment of the sports world. Jordan enjoyed a short stint in baseball during this retirement spell. However, he returned to the NBA in 1995 by announcing, “I’m back.”

Chicago Bulls All-Star forward # 23 Michael Jordan file photos. (Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage)

Jordan and the Bulls bounced back in the 1995-96 NBA season, winning another NBA title and kick-starting another three-peat run. The addition of Dennis Rodman to the team also strengthened the Bulls. For his role in the 1996 Finals, the NBA named Jordan the Finals MVP showcasing his importance to the Bulls team.

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Shalom Saldanha

255 articles

Shalom Saldanha is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his journalism degree, he has previously worked as a sports corresspondent for India Shorts/Business Upturn. A Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bucks fan, Shalom primarily got into the sport after discovering that he shared a mutual love for Arsenal with the 'Greek Freak'.

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