bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Scottie Pippen insults Michael Jordan

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Some people just like to hear themselves talk. I have been accused of this myself on occasion, and I can’t say that it has never been the truth. With this column, I at least try to make sure that I have something of value to impart to anyone who chooses to read my weekly missive. In the world of sports, particularly in this era, when there are so many outlets for just about everyone to make his or her opinion known, this problem seems to be particularly prevalent. This week’s example comes from the mouth of Scottie Pippen, the former NBA star who won a bunch of titles alongside Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls in the nineties. While appearing on the Mike & Mike show on ESPN radio on Friday, Pippen made the statement that Lebron James might be the best player to ever play the game of basketball, rather than his former teammate Jordan, who is widely considered to hold that title.

I want it to be clear that I have no skin in this game. True, I don’t like James even a little bit. I found his “Decision” show to be so thoroughly distasteful that it turned me from appreciative but apathetic to virulently negative. I will not claim to be objective on that subject. That said, I have always felt very similarly about Jordan. Sure, I acknowledge that he was an unbelievable player who could do things that no one else in the game could do. He did not win six NBA titles by accident. I never rooted for him, though. His towering arrogance and his shady off-the-court life led to me rooting against him at any opportunity. I realize that most great athletes are arrogant, and that the very arrogance I find so distasteful likely contributes to their superior abilities. There are certain guys out there that just seem to have a lot more of that superior attitude than others. As bad as Jordan was, James puts him to shame. I know he did not give himself the nickname “King James,” but he did use it as his Twitter handle. It takes a lot of hubris to call yourself “King James.” I have no particular issue with the fact that he left Cleveland and went to Miami last year. He had every right to do that, and he wasn’t doing anything that many other players don’t do every year. The fact that he did it in that self-serving, self-congratulatory, ridiculously self-centered joke of a television special, “The Decision,” is what turned me completely against him. The man actually spoke the words, “I am going to take my talents to South Beach.” Revolting.

It seems to me that Pippen must have some kind of ax to grind when it comes to Jordan. No matter how impressed he is with James’ game, there is simply no comparison. Lebron has won two MVP awards, one NBA scoring title and zero championships. Jordan won five MVPs, ten scoring titles, and six championships. Sure, James is only 26 years old. By the time his career is over, he may have a list of accomplishments that rival Jordan’s. If that happens, that would be the time for Pippen to break out his comments. Until James has won a championship or two, Scottie should keep his thoughts to himself.

Bad sports, continued:

2) NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, a talented but generally reviled young driver, showed that he still has plenty of growing up to do this week when he was pulled over for going 128 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone in North Carolina. I hope the penalty is a serious one.

3) Sunday was a bad day to be leading a major auto race on the final turn of the final lap. Indy Car rookie J.R. Hildebrand was leading the Indianapolis 500 by four seconds over Dan Wheldon when he inexplicably tried to pass a non-lead lap car in the final turn and hit the wall, causing him to finish second. Then, in the Coca Cola 600, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was poised to end his 104 race winless streak as he dove into the last turn of the race. He promptly ran out of gas and finished seventh. Kevin Harvick won the race.

4) Two months after the incident, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Aqib Talib was indicted for firing a gun at his sister’s girlfriend.

5) Former Ohio State wide receiver Ray Small was the latest former player to make claims of inappropriate dealings at the school while he was a player. In a predictable twist, he has since attempted to retract his statements after likely catching a lot of flak from other former and current players. That program appears headed for some pretty serious punishment.

6) A whole section of the stands at Dodgers Stadium had to be evacuated on Saturday night when a fire broke out in a small warehouse below the right-field upper deck, causing smoke to fill that area of the stadium. The fans seated there were moved to a different part of the stadium.

Good sports:

1) Miami Heat swingman Mike Miller was awfully impressive last week during the Heat’s series against the Chicago Bulls. Playing with two injured thumbs and with his baby daughter in the hospital, Miller still managed to make his presence felt, especially in game four.

2) The Milwaukee Brewers beat the San Francisco Giants in dramatic fashion on Saturday, winning the game on a suicide squeeze bunt executed by Jonathan Lucroy in the bottom of the ninth, scoring Ryan Braun.

3) The Norfolk-area compound that once housed Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting operation has been purchased by a Pennsylvania group that intends to use it as a facility to rehabilitate abused dogs. Sounds appropriate.

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday


Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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2 Responses to “Bad sports, good sports: Scottie Pippen insults Michael Jordan”

  1. I’ve never been a fan of Michael Jordan or Scottie Pippen, but it took Jordan quite a few years to win his first title. The Pistons, in particular seems to have his number until most of their best players aged out of the league.

    I suspect Pippen is a bit resentful that all his championships came as Jordan’s caddy. (to be kind) He spent a year in Houston and a few more in Seattle(?I think it was) proving that when the game was on the line, Scottie is about your third or fourth option on the floor.

  2. PS: I suppose we all should be glad there were enough empty seats at Dodger Stadium that they could move all those fans without any trouble. (snicker)

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