Scottie Pippen had made quite a few cheerful inroads in the years following a playing career that sometimes depicted him as surly and moody. The former Chicago Bulls All-Star and Basketball Hall of Famer had overcome financial difficulties on his way toward being a much-loved team ambassador for the Bulls, a fixture on the team’s sideline during home games, and at dozens of local events.
Pippen had a local event of sorts in Malibu, Calif., on Sunday, allegedly, and he's been questioned by Los Angeles County police for reportedly assaulting an autograph seeker. The Bulls have had no comment to date.
Pippen had been at the Nobu Malibu restaurant on the Pacific Coast Highway when a fight broke out between him and the man around 6:30 p.m., said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County sheriff's office.
"He came in to be interviewed, he's been cooperative," said Whitmore.
By Monday afternoon Pippen had been questioned by police where he was cooperative, said Whitmore. Pippen was allowed to leave without being charged, said Whitmore.
"Mr. Pippen will not be arrested, there's more here than meets the eye," said Whitmore.
This news flies in the face of what TMZ reported earlier. From TMZ:
Law enforcement sources tell us, Pippen turned himself in to authorities in Malibu moments ago. He's being booked for felony assault with intent to commit great bodily harm.
TMZ broke the story ... Pippen allegedly brutalized an autograph seeker outside Nobu restaurant Sunday night. The man was knocked out after Pippen allegedly punched him in the face and kicked him repeatedly.
Pippen left the scene. As for the victim ... he was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, including broken teeth and a swollen mouth. He also suffered injuries to his head and back.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department tells us ... Pippen has since been named as a suspect in a report for assault with a deadly weapon -- the deadly weapon being his shoes. We're told Pippen repeatedly kicked the 50-something-year-old victim when he was down.
There’s no point in speculating at this early hour. Autograph hounds are a fixture in Malibu, and Nobu – especially in Malibu – is noted for its celebrity diners.
What we do know is that Pippen is at least collaborating with authorities, that his current status as ambassador with the Bulls hasn’t been altered at the moment, and that this is a pretty unfortunate turnaround on a post-NBA career that seemed to be going so swimmingly.