July 14, 2009
On Monday evening, as a way to pay tribute to Michael Jordan's impending induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Gatorade put together an impressive street art exhibit featuring 19,000 limited-edition Jordan-themed Gatorade bottles in a lit pattern that showcased Jordan dunking a basketball.
The art, and ceremony, took place in Chicago. Scottie Pippen was on hand to witness the event, and place his own Pippen-themed Gatorade bottle amongst the display. Before the unveiling, Pippen talked to Ball Don't Lie.
Scottie Pippen: Hey Kelly, how're you doing?
Ball Don't Lie: Very well, very well. I guess the obvious start-off is, what are you up to these days? Since your time playing in Sweden, we haven't heard much from you.
SP: I've really been spending most of my time down in south Florida, I'm still working with the NBA and traveling across the country, promoting basketball in different parts of the world.
BDL: So what are you going to be up to tonight with the street art thing that Gatorade is putting together honoring MJ's induction into the Hall of Fame?
SP: Well, I'm here with Gatorade and some fans in Chicago, paying tribute to Michael's career. It's a very exciting thing to be a part of, with Gatorade using 19,000 limited Michael Jordan bottles, and I have the opportunity to put my bottle in, so I'm looking forward to it.
BDL: You're available to be inducted into the Hall next year, right?
SP: Yes, right.
BDL: What do you reckon on that? Do you think you're a first ballot guy?
SP: Well, I don't know. It's something that you never really think about. At least for me. It's something that you can't control, so you don't put much thought into it. It's a wait-and-see situation. We'll see what happens. It's not something that I'm dwelling on. If it happens the way I want it to, then I'm happy. If it doesn't, then I'm happy still.
BDL: A lot of Hall voters are college guys that don't look at the NBA much, and they'll base their vote around your stats. And the thing that always struck me about you is the way you could dominate - whether you're on offense, setting up the sideline triangle, or defensively guarding several positions - without picking up a stat. Without grabbing a score or assist or steal or block. What do you hope, without those stats to look at, people are going to take to when they consider your legacy.
SP: I just hope that they remember me as a player, and that it speaks for itself. It's not really about the numbers for me. People that watch the game and understand the game will know what type of player I was, and what I was capable of doing on the court. It's hard to get the numbers in some categories that you want when you're playing with players that are more dominant offensively than you are. My scoring would probably not be up there with other guys who played in my era, because I played with a guy who was a top scorer in the game for many years.
BDL: It seemed like right out of the gate, even though MJ was there, you were really a team-first type, which is pretty rare for a young player. What do you attribute that to? Is that a college deal? Is it from your upbringing, just how you are as a person? Is it the coaching staff? Is it Michael?
SP: It's just how I am as a person. Coming from a big family, you're into the sharing and giving and it's sort of a natural when you're out on the basketball court and when you're around people in general.
BDL: The two three-peats in Chicago, you had the first where the team was better and more athletic and deeper, and the second one which I kind of prefer because the team was older, and you and MJ ham and egged it pretty well and seemed to have a better on-court chemistry despite all the [Jerry] Krause nonsense. Looking back, which term do you prefer?
SP: I'd say the first one, because of the hunger that comes from doing it the first time. The second one was probably easier, we had a little more patience, we were older, and I thought we handled ourselves better as far as taking care of our bodies, dealing with what challenges we had to face going forward.
BDL: Besides the Ameritech charity game, in 1994, we never really got to see you and MJ go one on one. Was there something that you did to him on offense or defense that gave him fits, or vice versa?
SP: No, not really. We had an opportunity to compete with each other in practice every day. And we pushed each other, whether it was on the court or off the court, in the weight room, to be the best, and sort of be better than each other in certain areas.
BDL: How about the '92 Dream Team, were guys in separate practice teams during that run?
SP: Yeah, but we were sort of tired of beating up on each other by then, so we wanted some fresh meat to go after a whole season of practicing against each other. By then, I was ready to let someone else practice against Michael, I'm sure he felt the same way.
BDL: Any chance any of that fresh meat was coming out of Croatia at the time?
SP: (Laughs) Well, we actually knew there was some coming. We had one big bullseye coming from Croatia that we knew about.
BDL: I have to ask about this commercial that a friend of ours who writes for Ball Don't Lie, Trey Kerby, found online, with you shilling for Mr. Submarine. It ends with some computer-gimmicked shot of you dunking a turkey sub through a hoop. Do you remember that at all?
SP: What is that? Mr. Sub?
BDL: I think it's pre-championships. Maybe 1990.
SP: That was probably from my first couple of years in the league.
BDL: Do you remember anything from that shoot, or is that just way too long ago.
SP: (Laughs) Yeah, that's just way too long ago.
BDL: My favorite commercial, for any car, product, person, shoe, whatever, is your Silent Assassin ad, from 1997. For Nike, with Thelonious Monk and the bullet ripping through paper. Was that a particular favorite, and did you like any other ones through time?
SP: I think that was one of my favorites. Nike's always been pretty creative with the stuff that they were able to do as far as commercials, but that one ranks among the top.
Later this morning we'll have a post dedicated solely to the street art itself, stay tuned ...