1999 war of words between Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley.
Pippen, Barkley play the feud
In an interview for ESPN's SportsCentury series Wednesday, Scottie Pippen used the words "fat" and "selfish" to describe teammate Charles Barkley, who criticized Pippen in an Up Close interview Tuesday for wanting to leave the Houston Rockets.
Barkley said he sacrificed greatly to make salary-cap room on the Rockets for Pippen, who signed a five-year, $67.2 million contract before last season.
"For him to want to leave after one year, it disappointed me greatly," Barkley said Tuesday. "The Rockets went out of their way to get Scottie and the fans have treated him well, so I was just disappointed in him."
Pippen was offering no apologies Wednesday and reiterated that he wants to play elsewhere, preferably for the Lakers and Phil Jackson.
"I wouldn't give Charles Barkley an apology at gunpoint," Pippen said, never raising his voice. "He can never expect an apology from me. ... If anything, he owes me an apology for coming to play with his fat butt."
Pippen said he was the one who should be disappointed.
"He's a very selfish guy," Pippen said of Barkley. "He doesn't show the desire to want to win. That's my reason for wanting to get away from playing with him anymore because he just doesn't show the dedication.
"I probably should've listened to Michael (Jordan) a year ago when he said that Charles will never win a championship because he doesn't show any dedication."
Pippen wasn't finished.
"I was very shocked to see what type of player he was by spending half a season with him," he said of Barkley. "I'm a guy that's dedicated to winning, and I put out a lot of effort on the court. I expect that from my teammates, especially from a guy of his caliber.
"You know he's not willing to go the distance. There's no reason for me to put my last three or four years at risk of never winning.
"Charles is definitely one of the guys that needs to show more leadership for this ballclub to be successful, and he don't show that to me. ... He feels that if he gets 10 rebounds and double-figure points, he's done a good job. But that's not what the game's about. It's about defending, being professional and coming to work every day."
Pippen said one of the reasons he wants to play for Jackson is because he longs to return to the system in which they won six NBA titles together in Chicago.
"I would like to play for Phil," Pippen said. "(But) I'm not demanding a trade."
Pippen was frustrated with his role in the Houston offense -- which is built around the post-up moves of Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon -- and yearned to play in a more up-tempo style.
Pippen averaged 14.5 points per game, his lowest since his rookie year, and he made a career-low 43.2 percent of his shots. He also averaged 6.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists and was named to the NBA All-Defensive first team.
On Tuesday, Barkley sounded sympathetic toward Pippen's disenchantment with the team's offense.
"We have to solve the point guard problem," Barkley said. "It puts too much pressure on Scottie to have to bring the ball up every time. It slows the game down and it wears him down.
"Everybody says (Pippen) had a down year. His average was only down two baskets or three baskets. He'll get that on layups if we get a legit point guard who knows how to run the fast break."
Houston hopes Steve Francis is the answer to that problem. The Maryland point guard was the No. 2 pick in the draft and was acquired by Houston in a trade with Vancouver.