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Out of the Shadow
Leigh Montville
February 24, 1992
After years of being eclipsed by his teammate Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls' Scottie Pippen has stepped into the limelight
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February 24, 1992

Out Of The Shadow

After years of being eclipsed by his teammate Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls' Scottie Pippen has stepped into the limelight

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"I remember thinking at the end of his sophomore season that Scottie had a chance," Dyer says. "I'd seen Sidney Moncrief and Darrell Walker play at the University of Arkansas at the same stage, and they both made it [to the NBA], and I thought Scottie was bigger and better. I called San Antonio and I called Dallas, but no one seemed interested. I knew Bob Bass, then the general manager at San Antonio, now the coach. I told him about Scottie. I see him now, and every time, he says, "I know, you tried to tell me...."

"I always thought he had a chance," Jones says, "but I realized how good he was when I saw him with all of those players at the [NBA] tryout camp in Chicago. Scottie made a move, he came in from the right and banked the ball off the backboard with his left hand. That's a pretty difficult move, don't you think? He did it easy. And when he'd go up the middle? Dunk City."

Chicago was the end of a three-city coming-out party that still is discussed by pro scouts with you-had-to-be-there reverence. There had been some rumblings from superscout Marty Blake about a kid from Central Arkansas, and Krause had listened, and Sexton, the agent, had been sent a newspaper clipping, but none of them expected to see what they saw. Pippen climbed the draft ladder daily in camps in Portsmouth, Va., and Hawaii and finally Chicago. Cash registers rang happily in the background. By the end, Krause was maneuvering in the dark for the fifth pick in the land to take a player who had been projected early as fourth round, third round, O.K., maybe second.

"I'd never seen him until Portsmouth," Krause says. "They come out for warmups. They haven't even shot the ball. Here's this guy, he's got the longest arms I've ever seen. I've always been very big on long arms and big hands. I say, 'Holy——, there's something special.' I look around. Everybody's murmuring."

Krause says he was on the phone with Seattle for two days working a deal. The Bulls had the eighth pick. The SuperSonics had the fifth. Krause was terrified that the Sacramento Kings, picking sixth, would take Pippen. The deal was clinched at four o'clock in the morning the day of the draft. The Sonics would switch places in the first round for assorted considerations if—and only if—someone they wanted was not available at the fifth spot. They would not say whom they wanted. Krause would not say whom he wanted.

On the day of the draft the lines were open between Seattle and Chicago. The deal was not finalized until the Clippers picked Reggie Williams fourth. Williams was the player Seattle had wanted. Krause shouted into the phone that he wanted Pippen. The Sonics took Pippen, then dealt him to the Bulls later in the day for Olden Polynice, the player the Sonics ordered the Bulls to take eighth.

"People always ask what would have happened if he had gone to another team, a team that didn't have Michael," Krause says. "They say 'Well, Scottie would have beer a star right away instead of having to wait.' I don't think so. I think coming here made it easier for him. If he had gone to another team—a kid from Arkansas, from an NAIA school, picked fifth in the draft—the pressure would have been unbelievable. He would have been asked to produce right away. Here there was no pressure. Michael took all the pressure. Scottie had time to grow. He had problems the first year, didn't know how hard practices would be, didn't know a lot of things. He learned from Michael. It was like going to Cincinnati and learning from Oscar Robertson. What could be better?

"I think coming here gave him a chance to be a star. And he took it."

This is another locker room. Dallas. The Reunion Arena. The Michael madness has not yet arrived. The game is still to be played. The batteries in the minicams are still plugged into their chargers. There is a short time to relax. Pippen sits next to Michael. They are wearing expensive suits again. Each is wearing thin Italian loafers and thin white socks. Pippen is trying to figure out his ticket requests for the game. He must have 30 tickets spread on the carpet in little piles of three and four. He changes the piles, changes the seating arrangements. He looks as if he is playing a game of solitaire.

"Look at you," Jordan says. "You need more tickets than me."

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