Sports | June 29, 2021 12:45 pm

Scottie Pippen Calls Phil Jackson Racist for Not Giving Him a Shot to Hit ’94 Game-Winner for Bulls

Pippen said he felt Jackson denying him the final shot in favor of Toni Kukoc was a "racial move"

Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson with Scottie Pippen
Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson with Scottie Pippen after winning a title in 1991.
Richard Mackson/Sports Illustrated via Getty

In addition to being great at hitting shots, Kevin Durant is also apparently adept at hitting nerves … at least if they belong to Scottie Pippen.

After being dissed by Pippen in an interview with GQ, Durant lit into the former Bull on Twitter, particularly for infamously refusing to go back into a 1994 playoff game against the Knicks with 1.8 seconds left because Chicago coach Phil Jackson drew up the play for Toni Kukoc to get the final shot. The Croatian forward ended up hitting the game-winner for the Bulls.

While appearing on “The Dan Patrick Show,” Pippen said that he felt Jackson denying him the final shot was a “racial move” and by extension called the coaching legend a racist.

I don’t think it’s a mystery, you need to read between the fine lines. It was my first year playing without Michael Jordan, why wouldn’t I be taking that last shot?” Pippen said. “I been through all the ups and downs, the battles with the Pistons and now you gonna insult me and tell me to take it out? I thought it was a pretty low blow. I felt like it was an opportunity to give [Kukoc] a rise. It was a racial move to give him a rise. After all I’ve been through with this organization, now you’re gonna tell me to take the ball out and throw it to Toni Kukoc? You’re insulting me. That’s how I felt.”

Pippen then went on to criticize Jackson for coaching the Lakers, stepping away from the team and writing a book about them, and then returning to the bench in L.A.

“Do you remember Phil Jackson left the Lakers and then wrote a book on Kobe Bryant and then came back and coached him?” he said. “I mean, who would do that? You name someone in professional sports that would do that. I think he tried to expose Kobe in a way that he shouldn’t have. You’re the head coach. You’re the guy who sits in the locker room and tells the players ‘this is a circle, and everything stays within the circle, and that’s what team is about.’ But you as the head coach, opening up, and now you go out and try to belittle at that time one of the greatest players in the game?”

Afterward, Pippen offered some clarification that didn’t really explain much.

Jackson, who won multiple championships as the coach of the Lakers before flaming out in an advisory role with the Knicks, was always fairly complimentary of Pippen, at least publicly.

Also …

Jackson, as of now, has yet to address Pippen’s remarks. Somewhere Durant is smiling.