Jordan's woes surprise Pippen
"I'm very surprised, I mean, he's a competitor," Pippen said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "But this is a different side of the business. His competitive spirit can't help him out on the basketball court in terms of putting points on the board, but he's a driven guy. He's a competitor, and I expect him to be able to bounce back from it."
Pippen and Jordan won six titles with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, but Jordan's post-playing career has not been as successful. He was fired as vice president of basketball of operations from the Washington Wizards before taking over the Bobcats.
"You don't expect anything like that to be happening to the greatest player in the game, and you don't want to see that happen to him," Pippen said. "It's definitely embarrassing, and something you don't want to associate with Michael Jordan's name.
"Hopefully, he can come out of this. You know, when you're at the bottom, there's only one way to come up. He knows, and I guess the organization knows that they have a lot of work to do going forward and making some of the right decisions and the players that they are selecting."
Pippen agreed with Charles Barkley and Larry Brown that part of Jordan's problem could be that he's surrounded himself with yes-men. Jordan denied that charge and defended his assistants recently in an article in the Charlotte Observer.
"Well, I think it probably has a little bit to do with it, just listening from what Barkley said, as well as what Coach Larry Brown said," Pippen said. "It's not real good to have a lot of guys around you that agree with everything you say. I think it would be better off if there was some kind of disagreement there.
"Maybe a draft pick or something down the road would have been changed, because I don't think that his success has happened through his drafting. ... but you know Michael's my guy and I don't want to beat him up too bad or say anything bad about him."
Jordan recently attended a Chicago Blackhawks playoff game and sat in a suite with Hawks legends Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita.
"I was out of town for most of this week and I know he was here in Chicago this week, but his spirit looks pretty high," Pippen said. "He can't let this totally destroy him and break him down. There's still the next day, so he has to just has to continue to look forward."
Bobcats forward Corey Maggette came to Jordan's defense, saying his commitment to winning is not among the team's problems.
Maggette said players enjoy playing for Jordan and doesn't believe free agents will shy away because "he's a winner, and will be a winner" again.
The Bobcats expect to be more than $20 million under the salary cap and are guaranteed no lower than the fourth pick in this year's draft.
Maggette says he's convinced Jordan "is going to make this organization better."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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