Breakfast is done. Pippen's new loaner is being brought around. No, he says, it's not strange having kids out there, his blood growing up somewhere without him. He sees Antron the most, maybe for a month, all told, every year. "I really only deal with two of my kids—Antron and Sierra," Pippen says, but Sierra "not a lot." Taylor he doesn't see at all. "I don't have a relationship with the mom," he says. "Never have. It was a big mistake I made. I can't go back and undo it, but I have to move on."
The waiter drops the check, brings back the receipt. "Hey, it was a pleasure waiting on you," he says to Pippen. "Take care, good luck. You've got this town buzzing."
"Thanks, man," Pippen says. "I hope I can keep it that way."
New town, new team, new wife: Pippen has reached a good place. He has been married for 2½ years to Larsa, a former model who hopes to break into acting. Pippen has named his boat My Larsa. Friends say they have never seen him so devoted to a woman. "She's going to tell me what's right and what's wrong, and when the day is done, she's going to stand by my side," Pippen says, and for him to admit this is remarkable. He doesn't let many people get close.
"If he doesn't have a feel for you," says Ronnie Martin, "it's like a door closing. But he's happier with himself than he ever has been. Larsa opened his eyes to a lot of things he was never exposed to, like just learning to trust somebody. He's trusting her more than anybody. He really loves her, and he says it out loud. He comes out and tells me every day, 'I love my wife, Ronnie. I wouldn't know what to do without my wife.' "
Pippen steps outside, to the front of the hotel. He signs an autograph for an older woman, for her son. He signs for another woman, who says this will make her week. The valet rolls up in the new Mercedes. "That's it," Pippen says. He opens the door of the convertible, admires the leather. He folds himself in. Game tonight against Denver. Nap time. He hits the gas and rolls away.
That afternoon Jordan appears on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, pitching a new perfume. The last one, Jordan says, did $230 million in business.
That night, after the game, Larsa is standing in a Rose Garden hallway with the other players' families. She is talking about meeting Pippen four years ago. "I was hesitant because there's a lot of bad that comes with the good, especially dating basketball players," she says. "I never had—and I could have had my choice—because of that. But he's very family-oriented, loves his mom, loves his siblings, is a good person, religious, and he's from the South. That makes a difference. I didn't see it for the first week and a half, and I saw him every day. Then I said, God, he's so different from everybody else. He's genuine, he's real, hardworking."
Asked if it was odd to have married a man who already had some children, Larsa looks puzzled. "Some kids?" she says. "Wait. He has two."
The next night Pippen is in the Blazers' locker room, dressed sharply, ready to go home. No, he says, he didn't see Jordan on TV. They talk occasionally, but not lately. Both have been busy. "Two hundred...and...thirty...million?" Pippen says. He tries to bend his mind around the figure, then gives up. No, he says, he has no interest in getting his own perfume.