Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen together won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, becoming the Batman and Robin on arguably the greatest team this league has ever seen.
Michael Jordan's role in that has led to GOAT status for him, but many have argued that Scottie Pippen's importance is underplayed when discussing these things. Tracy McGrady recently echoed that sentiment in a podcast appearance.
"In today's society and sports, you get defined by winning championships," McGrady said on the Pat Bev Podcast. "Whereas everybody is not lucky enough to be in those situations. You look at some of the greats that played this game...
"And I'm not saying that Magic Johnson was lucky, but Magic Johnson played with a lot of freaking Hall Of Famers. Not saying Larry Bird is lucky, he played with a lot of Hall Of Famers, right?
"Jordan wasn't so lucky about playing with a lot of Hall Of Famers, he just had a great sidekick in Scottie Pippen. But if you look at Jordan before Scottie Pippen became Scottie Pippen, Jordan was just a great individual player.
"Like, Jordan wasn't getting out of the first round or going deep into the playoffs before Scottie Pippen became Scottie Pippen. So you gotta have the talent to win a championship but not everybody's blessed to play with a championship organization."
This is a tough argument to make, but he's not entirely wrong. In the five NBA seasons that Michael Jordan played without Scottie Pippen, the Bulls, and Wizards had losing records in all of them.
Jordan also had three straight first-round exits in the playoffs before Pippen arrived in the 1987-88 season. His record without Pippen in the playoffs is 1-9. Admittedly, this had to do with the poor team the Bulls had when MJ got drafted, but that just serves to prove McGrady's point further.
Anyone that says Michael Jordan wouldn't have won a championship without Scottie Pippen is kidding themselves, that's not true at all. But Jordan himself once admitted that he wouldn't have reached the level of success he did without Scottie by his side either, calling him a Top 3 player in the NBA.
In a recent interview, Dennis Rodman also spoke up on the matter, saying that Michael Jordan couldn't have done it by himself. Pippen feels the same way too. It doesn't take anything away from Michael Jordan's greatness, but McGrady does have a point about superstars needing the right situations.