The 6-time NBA champion and Basketball Hall of Fame connected with Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill to discuss Brooklyn’s early exit from the playoffs and why Durant still ranks behind LeBron James among the game’s greats.
Scottie joined Yahoo Sports thanks to Digits Bourbon, his new partnership with famed winemaker Dave Phinney.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Welcome to Yahoo Sports. I'm senior NBA writer Vince Goodwill here with NBA Hall of Famer, six-time champion, All-Star NBA at 50 Scottie Pippen. Scottie's here with us on behalf of Digits Bourbon, one of his new business ventures. We're going to talk about that in a minute.
Scottie, it's good to see you here. It's funny. You mentioned the Brooklyn and Milwaukee game 7. And Kevin Durant had like, some great games in that series. And for whatever reason, some people felt like he had to prove something in that. Did you feel like KD has sort of elevated his game to another level, or do you feel like he's always been this player?
SCOTTIE PIPPEN: Well, I feel like he's always been this player. I mean, I see a lot of the talk now going on about has he surpassed LeBron James.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Has he?
SCOTTIE PIPPEN: Surpassing LeBron James takes a little bit more than an individual's effort. LeBron James is a complete team player who understands team and winning. Has KD gotten to that level yet? He went home.
VINCENT GOODWILL: He's got two championships and two finals MVPs, right?
SCOTTIE PIPPEN: But to say that he's surpassed LeBron, I think he still has some learning to do in terms of what it takes to will a team to victory. And give Brooklyn a lot of credit. They lost Kyrie. James Harden probably was less than 50%, just wasn't seeing the same player. But still, it was a heck of a series and very enjoyable.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Well, you brought up that's that heartbreak that has become like a common theme in the NBA playoffs. It's almost like no player, maybe short of Magic Johnson, doesn't have that heartbreak before winning. Do you think this is sort of-- even drawing on your own experience-- do you think that's critical for a championship team to experience that level of heartbreak even if you're coming together through free agency and sort of skipping steps? Do you still think that heartbreak is necessary?
SCOTTIE PIPPEN: Yeah. I mean, I think when you look at all the teams now that are left, they've been through some heartbreak situations. It's part of the journey in terms of winning a championship.
VINCENT GOODWILL: So you what you're saying is you should thank Detroit for those hard lessons that you learned back in '88, '89, and '90. You wouldn't have become the champion that you became without those heartbreaks. Is that what you're saying, Scottie? Are you giving Detroit some love here?
SCOTTIE PIPPEN: It's a part of the journey. I'm not really thanking them. It's just part of the journey of any team winning a title. But what I am saying is you're supposed to be talking to me about Digits today, man. Why are you bringing up all this Detroit stuff? When are we going to start talking some Digits up in here?
VINCENT GOODWILL: Well, tell me about your Digits. It's got your handprint on it. It's Yours You have partnered with some people in Chicago to brand this. Tell us about your Digits Bourbon. I haven't tried it yet. So if I tried it, I would have a review for you. But let me know what I'm going to be in for.
SCOTTIE PIPPEN: Looking forward to it. It's going to be here in the Chicagoland area and some surrounding areas. But it's a pretty smooth bourbon, and I'm looking forward to getting some response from some of the people who are some serious bourbon drinkers like maybe yourself.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Maybe, maybe. Well, what made you decide to choose this type of venture? Is it just your roots? Is bourbon your liquor of choice? Has it always been your liquor of choice type of thing?
SCOTTIE PIPPEN: I think it's always been my liquor of choice. One of my business partners sort of came up with the idea of saying, hey, you should start your own bourbon. And from there, it's been a 365-day journey. But we've made steps and progress every single step of the way doing this here bourbon, just going through it and learning the process. It's been an amazing journey, so I've enjoyed it.