Dennis Rodman is a big fan of Scottie Pippen. The Hall of Famer even considers his former Chicago Bulls teammate underrated in the hierarchy of NBA history, as he doesn't necessarily think that Pippen gets the credit that he deserves as a positional pioneer.
In a recent interview with ESPN's Jackie MacMullen, Rodman went as far as to say that if LeBron James, who's most commonly considered to be Jordan's main rival in the GOAT conversation, played in the 1990s, Pippen would have been better than James. He also said that the multi-dimensional forwards of today's NBA should be thanking Pippen for paving the way.
"At that time, people were calling Larry Bird the quintessential forward," Rodman said, via ESPN. "He was great, but he couldn't play multiple positions like Scottie could. He wasn't agile enough. I just don't think people realize what Scottie was doing in 1991. He revolutionized the point-forward position. All these players today should thank Scottie Pippen. Guys like Kevin Durant should say, 'Wow, look what you did for us.' Scottie could handle, he could shoot the ball, he could defend, he could rebound.
"If LeBron was playing during the '90s, I'd still say Scottie Pippen was the second-best player behind Michael."
Rodman has been very complimentary of Pippen during the recent run of press the members of the '90s-era Bulls have been doing as a result of the recent release of "The Last Dance" documentary. During a recent appearance on ESPN's "First Take," Rodman said that" from Jordan during the years that Jordan was away from the NBA playing baseball.
"If you notice about Scottie Pippen, when Michael Jordan left in '93, '94, '95 -- Scottie Pippen was the best player in the world," Rodman said. "If people didn't know that, he led the team in every category. Every category. Scottie got his wings in 1991 when [the Bulls] beat the Detroit Pistons. When Michael left, Scottie took over and next thing you know he was the best player in the world. People don't know that."
It's not unusual for a player to stick up for a former teammate, which is what Rodman is doing here. However, his point about Pippen being underrated is valid. Jordan never won a title without Pippen, and his skill set was definitely ahead of its time in terms of his ability to play multiple positions on both sides of the ball. Would Pippen would have been better than James in the '90s? That's something we will never know, but there is one thing that we can say with certainty: it would have been a lot of fun to watch prime Pippen -- and Rodman -- do battle on court against James.