Alongside Michael Jordan and coach Phil Jackson, they won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls in the '90s, dominating the game like no one has ever since.
While Jordan became known as the greatest player in history -- about to buy the Charlotte Bobcats -- and Jackson continues to shine in LA as the NBA's winningest coach, Pippen has faded away almost quietly by comparison, despite being so instrumental in the rise of a dynasty.
Living now in Fort Lauderdale, Pippen, 44, sounded puzzled by his lack of opportunities today within the NBA. He wants to coach in the league, putting to use everything he learned during a 17-year career when he redefined the small forward position.
He was rebuffed by the Bulls two years ago before they hired Vinny Del Negro, and his phone doesn't ring very often, surprising for the greatness he once brought to the game.
He was a seven-time All-Star, a Defensive Player of the Year, and usually the set-up man that allowed Jordan to shine like he did.
He spoke to FanHouse Friday at ESPN The Weekend, being held at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Tim Povtak: Why aren't you coaching today in the NBA?
Scottie Pippen: Jobs in the NBA are difficult to get. I would like to be there one day, but it's a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Right now, I've been focusing on my family. I want my kids growing up in the right environment. That's where I've been the last few years. I expect to get back to the NBA soon.
TP: After what you did for the Bulls, why weren't they -- or aren't they -- interested in you coaching them?
SP: They made their choices as to who they wanted, what direction they wanted to go in. I have no problem with that. If they aren't interested in me, I can accept that.
TP: Is it painful to watch them play now? They haven't done much since you and Michael left after the last championship (in 1998).
SP: I wouldn't say it's painful. They just aren't one of the more exciting teams to watch now. I'm just being truthful. I'll still watch them, but I'm not glued to them. I'm not making my schedule around watching them play. They are not the type of team I wish they were.
TP: Who do you like watching in today's NBA?
SP: I like watching the Lakers, Cleveland. I like watching Miami, watching Dwyane Wade play. There are some teams I still can stand to watch. I like watching Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki. I like the way he plays the game. I appreciate what he does on court. He does only what he's capable of doing. He does a good job of that. He's not the greatest athlete by any means, and he's not one of the most exciting players, but he has a good IQ for the game.
TP: What kind of a coach would you be?
SP: I'd be more of a tough practice coach, and more relaxed during games. I would push harder to develop my team in practice, but then try to allow them to exist on their own during games. Not totally on their own -- with some coaching -- but I wouldn't be one of those NBA coaches running up and down the sidelines getting sweaty, beating themselves to death.
TP: You wouldn't want to get all that attention?
SP: A lot of those coaches seem to really exaggerate what it is to be a coach. It's almost like they are selling themselves. But that's their style, that's how they fill the games. To each, his own.
TP: Maybe you need to sell yourself more?
SP: I will if the opportunity is there. But I won't sell just to sell. If that's what it takes in today's NBA, then maybe I'll coach in college.
TP: : You've been nominated as a finalist for the Basketball Hall of Fame. What would it mean if you're elected?
SP: It would be huge, the greatest individual accomplishment you can achieve as a player, to be remembered by your peers and the voters as a great player. To be among the greatest players who ever played, it goes without saying, it would be the pinnacle of any guy's career.
TP: The Dream Team, the 1992 United States Olympic Team you played on, also could be enshrined. What would that be like?
SP: That team was very special. It's a team I will always remember. Some of those already are in the Hall of Fame, and others will be. I'm probably one of the last three or four who isn't there yet. Just being part of that group was a great accomplishment for me. What we were able to do was set the stage for the future of basketball. That's pretty exciting to think about.
TP: The first of those six NBA titles with the Bulls came 19 years ago. Does it seem that long ago?
SP: Obviously, time flies when you're having fun. Looking back now on all those celebrations, it still seems like yesterday.
SP: No, I don't think so. The business aspect of the game is totally different now. The players' mindset now is more about the finances of the game than about playing and winning for the passions of the game. That's the way of the world is today. Professional sports are no different. From the players standpoint, basketball is business and you are an enterprise. Winning championships is great, but at the end of day, you want to maximize your value. That's how the players think.