Scottie Pippen has won a $2.37 million settlement against a Miami businessman who is on the hook for acting as the biggest reason behind Pippen's failed attempt at owning and maintaining his own airplane.
Pippen's financial issues date back to his NBA career. Though endorsements helped, Pippen was famously the 122nd-highest paid NBA player in 1997-98 when he helped lead the Chicago Bulls to their sixth NBA title. A boffo max contract signed a year later made up for that contributions/compensation disparity, but poor planning along the way did not, and nothing typifies this better than the "Air Pip" story.
During the early part of the last decade, Pippen purchased a private airliner to shuttle him between his various homes in Miami, Portland and Chicago. When that purchase started to go sour, Pippen attempted to make up for that particular money pit by agreeing to a final season with the Bulls at an average salary (well more than twice what he made in 1997-98) in 2003-04. That final year of NBA money definitely worked in his favor, but it could not stop the flurry of allegations, suits and semi-settlements around "Air Pip" that followed.
According to South Florida Business Journal, though, this may all be over:
In 2010, widespread media covered a Cook County jury verdict for Pippen related to the deal: He won $2 million in a malpractice case against Chicago law firm Pedersen & Houpt. Pippen alleged the firm failed to closely monitor his plane purchase. Pippen originally sought $8 million in that case.
The final judgment against [Miami businessman Craig] Frost was recently registered in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. It said Frost had agreed to a confidential settlement in September 2010, but had failed to pay Pippen under the terms of that settlement.
Pippen hasn't enjoyed the same sort of retirement duties that most players of his generation have been able to take on. The Bulls hired him last year as an ambassador of sorts in part to help him with his financial woes, and while that isn't the toughest gig around (and last season's Chicago Bulls run was pretty fun to watch from a courtside seat), he'd still likely prefer being on the beach down in Miami with his wife as opposed to leading an NBA Cares program in Highland Park, Ill., in January.
Not exactly a sob story, I know, but if Pippen was wronged it's still pretty nice to see him get back some of what he earned during a gritty, all-out basketball career.