Scottie Pippen might have seemed quiet on the surface but when he was on the court, he was a deadly trash talker. There are two big moments in Pippen’s career in terms of trash talking that really stand out.
First, it was his dunk on Patrick Ewing in the 1994 Eastern Conference SemiFinals where he stood over the center before telling Spike Lee to sit down in his seat. It was an impressive dunk and warranted the trash-talking from Pippen. But my favorite Pippen trash talk moment came just a few years later.
During Game 1 of the 1997 NBA Finals vs. the Utah Jazz, MVP Karl “The Mailman” Malone had the chance to give the Jazz a lead as he stepped to the free-throw line with just 7.5 seconds left in a tie game. After making 3 of his 4 previous attempts from the line, Malone’s first attempt rimmed out. He stepped back, took a breathe and then shot the second. CLANK.
The Bulls grabbed the rebound and Michael Jordan would hit a buzzer-beater to give Chicago the win and 1-0 series lead. The “Mailman” didn’t deliver in that key moment and it cost his team. That was a HUGE moment as the Bulls protected home court in Game 1. But what was revealed later is the big moment we were talking about.
Pippen revealed that he walked past Malone after that game and simply whispered the words “The Mailman doesn’t deliver on Sundays.” Dagger.
“I just kind of whispered in his ear that the Mailman doesn’t deliver on Sunday,” Pippen recalled of the moment to reporters after the game via The Undefeated.
Pippen was right, too. Malone earned that nickname at Louisianna Tech when his coaches and teammates said he “always delivered” in big moments. But like the USPS, he didn’t deliver on that Sunday in June of 1997.
Later on, Pippen would go on to say that was his best trash-talking moment:
These days, the USPS does deliver on Sundays with Priority Mail Express. And on Sunday, ESPN will deliver with the first two episodes of “The Last Dance”. A 10-part documentary on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls team that would again beat the Jazz in the NBA Finals.
Let’s see if this moment makes an appearance.