When you hit the office on Friday or you’re clicking around on the internet to avoid whatever schoolwork you’ve put off until this point, the goal is simply to get to the weekend as easily as possible. And to be honest, I’m just trying to accomplish the same thing. Clicking around on the internet can send you down the rabbit hole and take you on all kinds of tangential links.
With the birthday of one of the greatest players of all time and the slamarring with Liverpool juniors.Keyrol Figueroa, at 13, plays for Liverpool’s academy and is making a name for himself.Mum Sandra Norales told Diario La Prensa: “He’s in U13 and U14 levels. He’s doing well in his matches, last season he scored 90 goaiversary of the greatest dunk in the history of basketball both happening on Thursday, it sent me on a fun trip around the internet. Let’s journey down the rabbit hole and see where we can take Friday, shall we?
On Thursday, legend and six-time champion Scottie Pippen turned 49 years old. The accolades for Pippen are seemingly infinite. There are the six championships as a member of the . There are the eight straight All-Defensive First Team honors and the 10 straight All-Defensive Team honors when you tack on the Second Team awards he received as bookends on those First Team selections. He made the All-NBA First Team three times, the All-NBA Second Team two times, and the All-NBA Third Team twice.
He’s sixth all-time in steals and one of three players in NBA history to score 18,000 points, grab 7,000 rebounds, and dish out 6,000 assists in their career (Oscar Robertson and John Havlicek are the other two). He’s the only player in NBA history to record 2,300 steals and at least 900 blocks in their career. If you drop the steals down to 2,000 then you can fit Karl Malone and Hakeem Olajuwon into Scottie’s club.
Pippen’s career was as divisive as it was extraordinary. He wasn’t good enough for a few years to help Michael Jordan topple the mighty . It wasn’t until Pippen’s lanky frame continued to fill out to be able to absorb punishment and maximize his own freakish athletic ability that the Bulls began their ascension into becoming one of the greatest dynasties in sports history.
He’ll never be given enough credit for his offensive game, almost perfecting the art of the point forward long before was dunking a basketball. That’s because his defensive prowess was so smothering, like a rogue nephew with a pillow hovering over a bed-ridden, rich uncle.
He stalked his prey from all angles. He’d chase you down on the break. He’d play possum from the weak side, just waiting for you to go past the point of no return with your shot at the rim. He’d be lurking from the top of the key as you thought you were free to take a midrange jumper.
All the while, Pippen could just position himself better than almost any defensive player in NBA history because he was doing it against any position on the floor at any time. Need him to ball hawk as Mark Jackson backed the ball up the court? He did that. Need him to give chase to the top wing guard on the opposing team? Watch him lock this guy down and make him feel like he chose the wrong profession.
Need him to battle Charles Barkley in the post? His elite, orbiting defensive positioning would make the most basic post-entry passes seem like a rigged carnival game. Have a mismatch with Patrick Ewing being guarded by Pippen on the low block? He’ll force the center into a quick, bad shot because he doesn’t want the ball stripped and turned into a fast break highlight. Pippen’s defense was otherworldly and he seemed to revel in his ability to shut you down.
It wasn’t just the physical gifts that would get you; he was as mentally sharp on the court as any player in NBA history. He knew the angles. He knew the scouting report. Only Joe Lacob has made Mark Jackson feel that lost when it comes to basketball.
And he could take on any star from any era.
On Thursday, the phenomenal of SLAM Magazine, Complex, and Triangle Offense fame wrote about Pippen’s legacy. He wrote about what Pippen meant during the time Jordan left the Bulls in his first retirement from basketball. He wrote about the journey Pippen took as the leader and how much he meant on the court and in the culture of basketball as a whole. :
Pippen was an absolutely unique player in NBA history, a top-10 guy who wasn’t even the best player on his own team, an athletic marvel who excelled on both ends of the floor, a selfless defender whose inexplicable moments of selfishness (, say) defined his legacy for some. He seemed to be always dissatisfied and embroiled in some kind of contract controversy—the result of signing long-term deals even as payrolls were skyrocketing—perhaps borne out by the fact that he made less than $20 million during his entire stint as a Bull. His quirkiness was perhaps best captured by Nike in featuring the disjointed piano of Thelonious Monk (who, at the time, I was in the process of discovering myself).
And just as I’d grown up with Jordan, I really grew up with Pippen. He entered the League when I was in high school, won his first title when I was in college, and won his fourth when I had just started as an editor at SLAM. Jordan’s flash got me into the game, but Pippen’s all-around brilliance really helped me understand it. And Air Jordans got me into sneakers, but the Air Pippen II was the first sneaker I ever got doubles of, getting the first pair from designer Aaron Cooper and buying the second at Nike’s Beaverton Employee Store. I still have one pair.
It was during that first hiatus from basketball in which we got a glimpse into a world without Michael JordEddie Nketiah to start Leeds’ next match.The 20-year-old scored his third goal of the season to rescue a point for the Whites in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Preston.It was Nketiah’s 11th substitute appearance, having not been started once by Marcelo Bielan. It was a world that was hounded by a search for his successor. Young players were brought up in conversation to fail and prove his shoes couldn’t be filled. There were many candidates but few were as bold as Pippen to fully embrace the opportunity to fill Jordan’s highly marketable shoes. It was Pippen who stood on the hardwood floor of the old Chicago Stadium — the true home of Michael — and announced to Bulls fans and the basketball world he was there to be the guy.
The unfortunate thing for him was he didn’t win the title that year. He wasn’t able to bring a team replacing the greatest player we’ve ever seen with Pete Myers to the promise land. They simply won 55 games, swept the Cavs in the first round, and a 10-point loss to the in the seventh game of the second round. He shot just 8-of-22, but still managed 20 points, 16 rebounds, and five assists in the losing effort.
The final event in Chicago Stadium happened in September of 1994 when Scottie Pippen held a charity game in which Jordan returned to support his former teammate. And because the internet is the best thing sliced bread ever invented, there is an inordinate amount of home footage from this game.
And it ended with an iconic moment of Jordan kissing the ground of Chicago Stadium with the game over and the building giving way for the new United Center (well, new at the time).
It’s hard to talk about Scottie and not give him his due on offense. I mentioned it above but he was one of the most prolific point forwards in NBA history. His offensive skill set was a seemingly perfect blend of anticipation, dribbling, passing, and his fantastic body control around the basket. He was a consistent 3-point shot from being arguably the best all-around wing we’ve ever seen on offense.
What you’ll remember most about his offense was his vitriolic slams over unsuspecting big men and even the time Travis Best was foolish enough to get in the way. Pippen’s ability to extend his arms to an impossible reaching point while exploding to the basket made a defender’s decision to challenge seeChelsea defender David Luiz has paid tribute to Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech ahead of the Europa League final.The Czech Republic keeper, who joined Arsenal from Chelsea in 2015, will play his last before retiring and is then expected to take up a sporting director role back at the Blues.Luiz said: “Pete is fantastic, a great person, a great man. “He is the best goalkeeper I played with and one of the best professionals I had the opportunity to work with.“I wish Petr could be on our side! I hope he plays a good game but I hope we win against him.”m completely futile.
A lot of his highlights seemed to come against the Knicks. Also, there is some pretty special commentary from the late, great Johnny “Red” Kerr on these plays. Not to mention, the basketball on display with the Bulls during those years was just beautiful.
While it was No. 1 on Pippen’s Top 10 Dunks video from the NBA, it wouldn’t be right to not show Scottie talking about the moment in which he baptized Patrick Ewing and did the step-over that has been pushed aside and seemingly been put behind Allen Iverson’s step-over of Tyronn Lue.
Did you know Scottie Pippen is actually supposed to be Scotty Pippen? of that on Pippen’s birthday with . The reason he changed it to Scottie (or just rolled with it) is to avoid being called “Scott Pippen.”
But for some reason, when people see it with a y, they shorten it to Scott.
me at the NBA draft. Scott Pippen. What was I going to do, argue with the commissioner?
I’m too lazy to go back and change it all to Scotty, but just know that’s how it’s supposed to be.
As great as Pippen’s accomplishment of throwing down on Ewing and embarrassing him in a big moment was, it wasn’t nearly as destructive as the dunk landed on the world back in 2000. On September 25, 2000, Team USA was demolishing France in the Sydney Olympics. With a little over 16 minutes left to play in the second half, USA was up 15 points and the French were trying to get something going in transition.
Antoine Rigaudeau attempted to throw a behind-the-back pass to start the break. Instead of getting it to his teammate, the ball went right to Carter. He took two dribbles as he gathered his steps and planted his feet about 12 feet away from the hoop, just outside of the trapezoid lane. Standing between Carter and the basket was 7’2″ center Frederic Weis, the 15th overall selection by the New York Knicks in the 1999 draft.
What happened was a blur that has stayed in permanent slow motion for the past 14 years. It’s something that would have caused the internet in today’s environment test the very limits of bandwidth and the capacity of Twitter’s servers. Can you imagine this happening for the first time in a world like we have now with instant conversation and reactions on Twitter?
Everything about the moment was a perfect explosion of what makes basketball such a great game. The purest of athleticism is on display. The perfect essence of having to be better, faster, and stronger than the man standing in your way, rendering your competition completely inconsequential as a prop to your big moment on stage. To pull a completely timely and relevant reference, Weis was the watermelon to Gallagher’s sledgehammer. Watch it loop around in this .gif:
So much happens in this play, in this moment, that adds so much subtlety to its greatness. It’s not just that Vince had the audacity to jump over a man that doesn’t fit in a standard doorway, although that is obviously a major component of this play; it’s that the basketball gods even allowed him to get so close to them. It wasn’t a stretch to just get the ball over the rim on a little flush. Vince reaches back to bring the hammer down in judgment of Weis.
And everybody loses their mind.
‘s reaction is to shove Vince in the chest . We’re in the middle of a basketball game! You can’t just go shoving your teammates like it’s an And 1 Mixtape Tour. KG had no other reaction but to just go shove his friend. Nothing else would suffice.
French guard Laurent Sciarra almost makes it a point not to make eye contact with anybody as he retrieves the ball from out of bounds. And you can’t blame him because if you make eye contact with Vince then you might be next.
Vin Baker walks away from the moment like he needs to get outside to get some air. Also, I’m fairly certain he believes he just witnessed a murder.
And he just might have.
The French didn’t call it the Dunk of Death because somebody didn’t die on the play. Sadly, it was Weis’ career that probably wasn’t really ended by the dunk but it certainly didn’t help the Knicks want to bring him to the NBA.
You almost feel bad for Frederic Weis. I mean he seems like such a nice guy and how would he ever know a human being would try to jump over him? I think it’s only right for us to stop mocking him being a stepladder to the legend of Vince Carter’s dunking ability and just let the man enjoy the rest of his OH MY GOD YOU CAN HEAR ALL OF THE DIFFERENT COUNTRIES’ ANNOUNCERS REACT TO THE PLAY WE HAVE TO WATCH THIS!
There may not be a better moment than a French announcer unloading a string of French words as he’s describing the play and finishing it off with “Kaboom!”
Kaboom indeed, mon ami.
Happy birthday, Scotty, and happy slamiversary, Vince.