Pippen’s comments were published in GQ after Durant and the Nets were eliminated from the playoffs. Durant had two historic games in the series against the Milwaukee Bucks but a hobbled James Harden was unable to provide enough help to get Brooklyn to the conference finals.
“You put KD in Brooklyn, and Kyrie (Irving) gets hurt, and James Harden ain’t that guy, now KD not only has to score for them but also make plays for them,” the Chicago Bulls legend said. “And this is no knock to KD, but they asked me, ‘Has he surpassed LeBron James?’ And my answer was: LeBron James knows team basketball better than KD.
“KD can score better than LeBron, probably always (has) been able to. But has he surpassed LeBron? Nah. He tried to beat the Milwaukee Bucks (by himself) instead of utilizing his team. You see what I’m saying?
“LeBron James would’ve figured out how to beat them, and he wouldn’t have been exhausted, and he may not have taken the last shot. But LeBron ain’t KD, and KD ain’t LeBron. KD is a shooter, a scorer. But he doesn’t have what LeBron has.”
Unfortunately for Pippen, Durant had time to respond.
The sharpshooter came for the jugular, hitting out at Pippen for his lack of teamwork at points of his career with the Bulls.
“Didn’t the great Scottie pippen refuse to go in the game for the last second shot because he was in his feelings his coach drew up the play for a better shooter??” Durant asked.
He was referring to Pippen’s decision to sit in the final seconds of a 1994 playoff game against the New York Knicks. Phil Jackson called a play for Toni Kukoc to hit the final shot instead of Pippen. The forward decided to take himself out of the game instead of participating.
The moment was featured in the “Last Dance” documentary. Pippen said he felt like it was an “insult.”
“This guy Scott also wanted to enjoy his summer so he chose to rehab during the season lol yo @ScottiePippen THEY FOLLOWED PHIL, NOT YOU!!!” Durant added, referring to the final season in which the Bulls dynasty was together and Pippen only played in 44 games to rehab an injury during the year.
Pippen would respond with a single emoji.
Durant is not one to take criticism lightly. He recently came after Jay Williams over the former basketball player-turned-ESPN analyst’s comments about him.