Scottie Pippen has always felt he got the cold shoulder from the media for his contributions to the Bulls 1990 dynasty. While he has flipped stances numerous times on topics like Phil Jackson and LeBron vs. MJ, Pippen has always vouched for his worth.
On Tuesday (Nov. 9), Scottie visited New York sports reporter Frank Isola’s SiriusXM NBA radio show to discuss his new memoir Unguarded, which hit shelves today. When discussing the Bulls’ last championship run, he mentioned that his back injury in the 1998 Finals series vs. the Utah Jazz would have sidelined him if the series went to a game 7. He claims a back injury is a vastly tougher ailment to endure than the flu, which Michael Jordan endured in the Finals the year prior: “I wouldn’t have played in a game 7, I just wasn’t able to go. I knew on Saturday (Game 6) that I probably had one game left in me…I’m gonna ask you this. Is it easier to play with a herniated disc or to play with the flu? I don’t see many bad-back games, but I do see flu games. Flu. Come on.”
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While Pippen is probably correct in asserting that a herniated disc is more of a hinderance than having the flu (or food poisoning as MJ cleared up in The Last Dance), his main objective here is to discredit Jordan. He also says he has a portion in his book that addresses this topic.
While basketball fans have always praised Jordan for playing through his sickness, the main point they make is how he had a remarkable performance in a game of such high stakes, while being ill. That is the entire essence of the “Flu Game.”
In that game, which was Game 5 of the 1997 NBA finals vs. the Utah Jazz, MJ recorded 38 points, seven rebounds and five assists in 44 minutes of action. In a game that gave Chicago a 3-2 lead in the series, MJ shot an incredibly efficient 48% from the field and 40% from three, while visibly battling his sickness.
Pippen on the other hand, in is “bad-back game” in Game 6 of the 1998 Finals, tallied eight points, three rebounds and four assists in 25 minutes of play. That’s not to say he was not useful in the game, as he was a critical part of the team’s success. However, it seems that Scottie is willfully ignorant to the reason why the “Flu Game” garnered so much praise.
Regardless, Scottie Pippen’s voice is a powerful promotion tool for his new memoir.
Watch Scottie’s “bad-back game” argument below.