‘Cavs, Warriors can take basketball to new heights’ – Pippen
Staff Report Published: November 27, 2016
DUBAI: The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, with LeBron James and Steph Curry respectively “are definitely two of the best teams anywhere right now,” said retired NBA player Scottie Pippen, who wrote history as Chicago Bulls’ key player who, along with Michael Jordan, transformed the Bulls into a championship team and popularized NBA around the world.
“With the star players they have on their team, they are going to take the game to new heights. They are definitely two of the best teams anywhere right now and it’s hard to see any other team or individual that raises the bar of the game as they do,” said Pippen, who was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History during the 1996–97 season.
Comparing the Chicago Bulls’ 1995-96 historic stint with today’s basketball, Pippen said he thinks the game has “changed tremendously.”
“The players are more free and it’s not as physical a game as it was in the 80s and 90s,” he said, adding that “I think the change has been for the better and the physicality of the players are a lot different than it was 20 years ago.”
Pippen said that with the globalization of basketball, European players have become “much more skilled than they were in the 90s.”
“The game just continues to grow and the players are globally known now. In the 90s, most of the players were known just in the States but with now with the Olympics, and the NBA is a part of that, the game is much more bigger now.
“The players have a chance to build up their brands as the fans are excited about the game and the players are excited about the game and where it is going. We are excited about how players promoted themselves through social media and it has helped the game and helped the fans get more involved,” he said.
Pippen is the only player to have won an NBA title and an Olympic gold medal in the same year twice (1992, 1996). He was a part of the 1992 U.S. Olympic “Dream Team” which beat its opponents by an average of 44 points.
“It was one of the greatest experiences of my basketball career,” he said. “It was a great experience because I was realizing everything was taking off – from the shoe business to the globalization of basketball. It was such a huge stage, playing at the Olympics and basketball was being seen from a different perspective.
“You realize that USA basketball was far down the road from most other countries, but since that time the gap has definitely closed and the game has definitely gotten bigger but the players around the world have gotten better,” he said.
Pippen was in Dubai the weekend of November 18 to promote basketball and, being a Nike athlete, the brand. He was with Nike designer Aaron Cooper. Pippen and Cooper designed around seven Nike shoes.
As a Nike athlete, Scottie Pippen’s name is interwoven with the Uptempo series. He’s most iconic for the More Uptempo ‘96, which was re-released this year to much fanfare.
In addition to his feedback and the ‘95 and ‘97 Uptempo products; he is also known for his signature line of shoes, which include the Nike Air Pippen series.