Wennington: I Was "Disappointed" By Pippen's Answer

Scottie Pippen is Bill Wennington's favorite teammate of all time, but he didn't like Pippen's comments about his me-first moment in the 1993 playoffs

Zach Gelb
May 13, 2020 - 7:35 am
Scottie Pippen NBA

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In Game 3 of the 1994 Eastern Conference semifinals, Scottie Pippen made perhaps the biggest mistake of his career: he removed himself from a game in crunch time, simply because Phil Jackson drew up a play for Toni Kukoc – not Pippen – to take the final shot.

It was a petty, selfish move from the Bulls’ superstar.

“In the moment, I was upset. We were all upset,” former Bulls big man Bill Wennington said on The Zach Gelb Show. “Here’s Scottie, our team leader, playoff battle against the New York Knicks – and the rivalry between the Bulls and Knicks was huge – and he sat out. Thank goodness Toni Kukoc hit the shot to kind of soften the blow a little bit, but I’m going to be honest with you: Bill Cartwright came in and handled the situation perfectly. Gave one of the best talks, heartfelt, teary-eyed – and Scottie was contrite. He was upset, he was tearing up himself and apologized to his teammates in the locker room. For us at that time, it was over. Scottie said, ‘I made a mistake. I thought I was bigger than the game. I got carried away. I’m sorry, it’ll never happen again.’”

When recalling the incident in Episode 7 of The Last Dance, however, Pippen said he wished it had never happened before adding, “But if I had a chance to do it over again, I probably wouldn't change it.”

“When I heard that, that he’d probably do the same thing again, I was disappointed,” Wennington said. “Because I really thought Scottie had learned from it. And again, as I said, he had already made amends with us. For that, I was disappointed.”

Wennington played with Pippen from 1993 to 1998.

“Scottie is my favorite teammate of the Bulls,” Wennington said. “He’s a fantastic teammate. He’s accountable for everything he does. He’s human – because he does make mistakes. And as a basketball player, he’s the second-best basketball player I’ve ever played with. Just a phenomenal guy and a phenomenal teammate to have, but to be honest with you, when he said that, I was just a little bit disappointed.”