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Bulls to Retire Pippen's Number Tonight

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Dec 9, 2005 5:17PM

At halftime of tonight's Bulls-Lakers game, the Bulls will retire Scottie Pippen’s Number 33, raising it to the rafters among those of other Bulls greats. In attendance at the ceremony will be Michael Jordan and former coach Phil Jackson among others who played along side Pip during his 12 years with the Bulls.

Overshadowed by MJ during most of his tenure with the Bulls, Scottie Pippen nonetheless established himself as one of the greats of the NBA. During his career, he was a 7-time All Star and 8-time All Defensive First Team player. He averaged almost 20 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists per game while with the Bulls, winning 6 NBA titles along the way. All these resulted in his inclusion on the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players of All-Time list announced in 1996.

Pippen's rise to greatness was very unexpected, however. Unlike current superstar LeBron James, who was featured in Sports Illustrated as middle schooler, Pip rose from obscurity. He wasn't even able to "walk-on" to local college teams as a non-scholarship player. As a favor to Pippen's high school coach, Don Dyer allowed Pippen to serve as his basketball team's towel boy at Central Arkansas -- a small NAIA college. As he grew and his skills developed, he went from handing out towels to the team to it's star player. Selected 5th overall in the 1987 draft by Seatte, the traded his rights to the Bulls for the rights to Olden Polynice. Guess who got the better end of that trade?

Scottie Pippen's tenure in Chicago wasn't always positive -- there's the gun charge, the sitting out the last 1.8 seconds of a playoff game, the "no-tippin' Pippen" reputation -- but he's certainly deserving of this honor for what he did on the court.

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