NBA legend Scottie Pippen made some waves Monday morning when he claimed that some of Phil Jackson’s basketball decisions were racially motivated.
In fact, Pippen cited some of Jackson’s past decisions when he was the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers as proof that he holds racial prejudice.
DP: ".. By saying it was a racial move then you're calling Phil Jackson a racist…"
Pippen: "I don't have a problem with that."
DP: "Do you think Phil was?"
Pippen: "Oh yeah…"
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) June 28, 2021
“Oh, yeah,” Pippen said when asked if feels that Jackson is a racist. “I mean, do you remember Phil Jackson left the Lakers, went wrote a book on Kobe Bryant, and then came back and coached him? I mean, who would do that?”
Pippen seems to be referencing Jackson’s 2004 book, The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul, which covered the final season in which Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal played together.
Pippen went on to say that Jackson disrespected Bryant in a way he shouldn’t have when Bryant was one of the best players in the league.
“I think he tried to expose Kobe in a way that he shouldn’t have,” he said. “You’re the head coach, and you’re the guy that sits in the locker room and tells the players, ‘This is a circle, and everything stays within the circle because that’s what team is about.’ But you as the head coach open it up? And now you go out, and you try to belittle, at that time, probably one of the greatest players in the game?”
When show host Dan Patrick said that Jackson’s actions may be rooted in disloyalty as opposed to racism, Pippen issued a simple response.
“Well that’s your way of putting it out,” he said. “I have my way.”
Jackson is considered to be one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. He coached Pippen and Michael Jordan during their days with the Chicago Bulls. He won six titles as a head coach of the Bulls and five titles with Bryant and the Lakers.
It will be fascinating to see if Jackson responds to Pippen’s somewhat explosive claims.