For every basketball fan, the name Scottie Pippen brings back memories associated with one of the greatest periods in American basketball. Alongside arguably the game’s greatest player, Scottie Pippen helped the Chicago Bulls win several titles, playing at a ridiculously high level that earned him seven NBA All-Star titles in 17 seasons.
Yet despite a professional career that hundreds and thousands of basketball players would envy him for, he has had just as much success in his personal life. Two failed marriages, a failed engagement, and children born out of wedlock are some of the imperfections in the life of the legend.
High School and College Years
A few years after he was born in Hamburg, Arkansas on September 25, 1965, Scottie Pippen began his legendary journey as a basketball player. He began playing as a point guard for the Hamburg high school team, taking advantage of his incredible height of 6 feet 1 inch at a young age.
During his high school days, his goal-scoring skills led the team to the national playoffs. He also recorded one of his early individual achievements and was named among the All-Conference Honors.
His high school exploits eventually earned him a place in college, where he played for the University of Central Arkansas. Through basketball, Scottie Pippen became one of the few children of his parents who attended college.
Scottie turned out to be a remarkable gem in college. After a further growth spurt to a height of 6 feet 8 inches, Pippen became one of the best defensive players on his team. Over four years and 93 games in college, Pippen averaged 17.2 points per game and 2.7 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game.
His achievements in college earned him a place in the Consensus NAIA All-American Honors, attracting a wide range of interest from NBA teams.
Scottie Pippen’s college career helped him win the first round of the Seattle Supersonics NBA drafts in 1987, making him fifth overall in the first round. He was, however, transferred to the Chicago Bulls, where he began a career that would go down in basketball history forever.
Although he played for other NBA teams such as the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers and played for two teams in Finland and Sweden for a year, it is his career with the Chicago Bulls that stands out the most.
Although he had a dull rookie season with the Bulls, averaging 7.9 points per game, his partnership with Michael Jordan helped him quickly become one of the best players in the league. Both are at the core of the Bulls’ young players.
The initial mixed success quickly turned into league dominance as Pippen helped the team win three successive championships between 1991 and 1993. After Michael Jordan was eliminated shortly before the 1993-94 season, Scottie Pippen stepped out of his shadow. He led the Bulls on goals, assists, and blocks, earning him All-Star Game MVP honors.
The partnership of Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan helped the Bulls make history.
After two years without a title, he won three championships between 1995 and 1998 and consolidated his place among the players with the highest number of NBA championships with six titles. At the end of his second triple match with the Bulls and 11 seasons, Pippen, who averaged 19.1 points per game, left the team for the Houston Rockets.
Scottie Pippen spent a season with the Houston Rockets and three seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers before returning to the Chicago Bulls, where he spent his last season in the NBA in the 2003/04 season. After leaving the NBA, he moved to Finland where he played for Torpan Pojat and the Sundsvall Dragons before retiring from the game in 2008.
Aside from his six notable NBA titles with the Bulls, Scottie Pippen has also won and recorded several individual awards of his own during his amazing career. He has been named seven times in the NBA All-Star and won the MVP award once. He has also received awards three times on the All-NBA First Team, twice on the All-NBA Second Team and twice on the All-NBA Third Team.
The Chicago Bulls No. 33 was also named eight times in the NBA All-Defensive First Team and twice on the All-NBA Second Team. Other honors he earned during his career as a player include USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year and a place on the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Since retiring, Scottie Pippen has been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame twice, due to his success with the Bulls and his membership in the winning team of the 1992 Olympic Games in the USA. Two of his jerseys, Central Arkansas No. 33 and Chicago Bulls No. 33, have been withdrawn by the respective teams in further recognition of his great performances during his playing career.
Scottie’s Personal Life – A Mixed Bag of Success
While Scottie Pippen’s professional career is an undisputable success, his personal life can, at best, be said to be a mixture of highs and lows. The Hamburg, Arkansas born legend has been married twice, and both of them have failed. He also has children from a couple of other relationships
Scottie Pippen’s first marriage was to a woman named Karen McCollum in 1988. Before they got married, they had a child, Antron Pippen, who was born a year before. Unfortunately, while like everyone else, Scottie would have hoped for his first marriage to be his only one, it did not turn out to be.
After two years of being married, they separated and got divorced in 1990. The exact reason for the divorce is unknown. And while many speculate incompatibility and infidelity on the part of Scottie, nothing has been confirmed by either party.
As a man who has made it to the highest level of basketball, Scottie Pippen is well familiar with failure and knows the trick to succeeding is trying again after you have failed. So, in 1997, he gave marriage another try with Larsa Younan Pippen.
Despite their significant age difference of ten years, their marriage looked poised for success. While they were together, they gave birth to four children – Scottie Pippen Jr. Preston Pippen, Justin Pippen, and their only daughter, Sophia Pippen.
However, having four children and being together for more than two decades was not enough ingredients to keep the Scottie Pippen/Larsa Younan romantic story alive. After weathering the storm of divorce rumors in 2016 when Larsa was alleged to have cheated on the basketball star with hip hop star, Future, the two of them eventually got divorced in 2018.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was a decline in the quality of their marriage. According to Larsa, who denied cheating on the basketball icon, their marriage ended because she felt alone in the marriage. She suggested Scottie had abandoned the family, failing to show up for several family holidays, including her birthdays.
Outside of his marriages, Scottie Pippen has also had a mixed bag of results when it comes to his relationships, some of them leaving permanent marks.
He was once engaged to a woman named Yvette De Leon. While they were together, they had a daughter, Sierra Pippen, who was born in 1994. He was also involved with a Chicago model, Sonya. The exact nature of their relationship is left to speculation, but it did result in the birth of twin children – Taylor and Tyler Roby Pippen. Tyler did, however, die shortly after birth.
Public information suggests the basketball legend has found it challenging to maintain a great relationship with his children, particularly those he had outside wedlock. However, having reportedly gotten back in the relationship saddle with a yet to be named woman, the Chicago Bulls’ legend continues his search for a successful relationship that mirrors his professional career.