Michael Jordan still gets the bulk of the spotlight when it comes to the Chicago Bulls in the late 1980s and 1990s — and rightfully so.
The team’s incredible success, however, wouldn’t have been possible without Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen right by Jordan’s side.
Pippen spent his first 11 seasons in the league with the Bulls, where he earned seven All-Star nods and helped lead them to six NBA titles. While he played elsewhere briefly near the end of his career, Pippen returned home to Chicago to retire with the Bulls — and has spent nearly the past decade working as a special adviser and team ambassador.
Well, at least he did. The Bulls fired him this season.
Pippen revealed that fact on the Thuzio Live & Unfiltered podcast, which was recorded before the All-Star game but released on Wednesday.
“You’re an ambassador for the Bulls, is that right?” host Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune asked Pippen while introducing him.
“I was,” Pippen replied. “I got fired this year. I didn’t really want it to be out in the public, but I’m no longer employed by the Bulls.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reported in March that Pippen was “no longer in his role as team ambassador,” though it wasn’t clear what led to that separation. According to NBC Sports’ K.C. Johnson and Rob Schaefer, Pippen and the Bulls met before the season to discuss his role with the organization now that Pippen is a regular on ESPN’s “The Jump.” When the Bulls wanted specific commitments out of him, per the report, neither side could agree on compensation.
Pippen, however, is still listed as one of three “Special Advisors to the President & COO” on the team’s directory — which is updated with the recent hiring of Arturas Karnisovas to be the new vice president of basketball operations.
In the end, Pippen doesn’t seem that bothered by his firing, especially after looking at the current state of the Bulls — who were just 22-43 when the season was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have recorded just one winning season over the past five years and had numerous other internal issues.
“It probably is a good thing [I was fired], right?” Pippen said. “I like to associate myself with winning.”
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