Scottie Pippen stirred up something of a firestorm recently when he accused his old head coach, Phil Jackson, of being a racist.
Pippen’s comments came in response to a question about a 1994 playoff game against the New York Knicks during which Jackson drew up a play for Toni Kukoc instead of him.
Pippen refused to enter the game as a result.
“By saying it was a racial move then you’re calling Phil Jackson a racist…” radio host Dan Patrick said to Pippen during an interview this week.
“I don’t have a problem with that,” Pippen replied.
“Do you think Phil was?” Patrick followed up.
“Oh yeah,” Pippen said.
DP: “.. By saying it was a racial move then you’re calling Phil Jackson a racist…”
Pippen: “I don’t have a problem with that.”
DP: “Do you think Phil was?”
Pippen: “Oh yeah…”
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) June 28, 2021
On Wednesday, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal entered the debate. He had extensive experience playing under Jackson when they won three titles together on the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I don’t want to get involved in other people’s beef, but Phil is definitely not a racist,” O’Neal said, via FanSided.
“What [Pippen] said about Barkley makes a lot of sense, but he’s coming out with a new drink and a new book. Maybe this is all marketing.”
O’Neal is probably right, and his thoughtful analysis here is an example of how hit-or-miss he can be with his commentary. Sometimes he is great, other times – not so much.
That’s one way to do it. https://t.co/f2UB2VbGvM
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 30, 2021
All in all, O’Neal is an objectively amazing legend of the game, but his off-the-court shenanigans and way of carrying himself leaves a lot to be desired. This was blatantly obvious when a series of explicit text messages came out between him and a special lady friend, and when he talked about policing his daughters’ dating habits, and when he offered his most recent commentary on Dwight Howard.
That being said, it’s hard to argue with O’Neal’s assessment of this particular situation.
Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.