Scottie Pippen, Olympic Gold medalist, Basketball Hall of Famer, and Pine Crest Dad


[ot-caption title=”PC basketball players getting in some practice time (via Tara Shecter, sophomore)”]

Chicago Bulls Scottie Pippen 1995
Scottie Pippen during his time with the Chicago Bulls. (via Steve Lipofsky)

Many young athletes aspire to become the very best in their sport. In basketball, this goal means to follow in the footsteps of some of the prime-time athletes to ever walk the planet.  And one of them just happens to be in our community, and that’s Scottie Pippen.  Pippen is the only basketball player to have won an NBA title and an Olympic Gold medal in the same year. And while PC student athletes are training to climb the ladder to the top, Pippen is enjoying being a Panther coach and dad, cheering on his son and the PC basketball team from the sidelines. Obviously, going from Michael Jordan’s wingman to high school basketball is a culture shock, but the NBA Champion is taking it in none-the-less.  “It’s really different,” Pippen said of being a spectator instead of a player. “At times it’s hard to forget that this isn’t the NBA, but it is always fun to see young athletes grow and develop. High school is a great time for student-athletes to grow and develop, both physically and mentally.”

Pippen tries to translate all that he has learned throughout his stellar career to the athletes but says candidly, “I don’t think I deserve the title of coach, I’m just helping out.” As a former player, a coach, a helpful parent, and a role model to the team, Pippen’s message to the youngsters at the Pine is clear.  He explains that one of the most important things to remember when playing basketball is to work hard and to hone individual as well as team skills. It’s a team sport, but Pippen insists that it is important to find one’s own craft and to really develop it in order to contribute to the greater good.  On the other hand, he says that while it’s significant to develop individually, to really be great, a player needs to embrace the team atmosphere.  “The amazing feeling of having a team that acts like an extended family leads to better performance and success. There’s nothing better than having a team to support everything through both the good and the bad times.”

The team is crucial, but coaches play an essential role in any athlete’s career. “They teach you skills that will help in life like working well with other people,” Pippen said of his own coaches and coaches in general. They set the tone and guide athletes not only to success in the sport, but to success in working alongside people, getting along with others who are different, and bonding with a team. Especially in high school, coaches also help their athletes find the proper balance between academics and everything else. Pippen says that it is important to always be open to try new things, and to experiment. “Each person is different, and that’s why experimenting is valuable, because what works for one person may be different than what their friends or even family enjoy doing.”  And once a person decides what they want to pursue, then Pippen says that “there’s no dream that can’t be accomplished.” This message is especially relevant this year given that the Olympics will take place this summer; here athletes who reached for their dreams will be rewarded by playing on sports’ biggest stage.  Pippen recalls his time as part of the winning Dream Team and tells spectators to look at the athletes and think of all the work they’ve put in, all the sacrifices they’ve made to get to that level. “There are many incredible athletes who don’t get that chance. Those who do are rare indeed and people don’t really see all the work behind the scenes,” he explains. It’s easy to just see the finished product and not the hours and years of work behind it.

For now Pippen will enjoy watching his children at Pine Crest and sitting on the sidelines watching his favorite sport, but his road and accomplishments should resonate throughout the Pine Crest family for anybody trying to achieve a goal.