Scottie Pippen's Net Worth, Stats and Salary History Compared to Michael Jordan

With the exception of Michael Jordan, nobody featured in a premiere of The Last Dance as prominently as Scottie Pippen.

Jordan's sidekick during the six championship-winning runs, Pippen was the focus of the second episode of ESPN's 10-part documentary, which first aired on Sunday night and chronicles Jordan's final season with the Chicago Bulls.

An extraordinary player in his own right—he averaged 20.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.2 steals and 0.9 blocks—Pippen was perennially overshadowed by Jordan, who won five MVP awards and was named NBA Finals MVP six times during the 11 years they played together in Chicago.

The latter, however, admitted his six NBA titles would not have been possible without the fifth overall pick of the 1987 NBA Draft.

"I considered him my best teammate of all time," Jordan said in the documentary, which also shed some illuminating insight on the feud that Pippen had developed with Bulls general manager Jerry Krause.

Four years into his NBA career, Pippen helped the Bulls to their first ever NBA title in 1991, averaging 17.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game—second-best figures in the team behind Jordan and Horace Grant respectively—and led the team in assist and blocks.

Following the Bulls' first triumph, Pippen signed a five-year extension worth $18 million, which was to become effective in 1993 at the end of his six-year rookie contract.

While at the time of the agreement the deal would have placed Pippen among the 15 best-paid players in the NBA, the salary was far from those commanded by some of the league's superstars.

Pippen's rookie contract was worth a combined $5 million, while the base salary of the deal he signed in 1993 was worth an average of $3 million a season for the last two years alone.

Tellingly, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf suggested a long-term deal would not be in Pippen's best interest.

"I told him when he was getting ready to sign this deal that 'halfway through it you're going to think you're underpaid, especially since we front-loaded it,'" Reinsdorf told The Chicago Tribune in 1995.

"His answer was, 'You'll never hear from me.' I told him I didn't believe it, but he promised that would be the case.

"I know he's underpaid. Sometimes I make good deals and sometimes I make bad deals."

Reinsdorf touched on the same topic in the documentary.

"I don't recall the terms of the deal," he explained.

"But I do recall that it was a longer contract than I thought was smart for him. [...] I said to Scottie the same thing I said to Michael: 'You might be selling yourself short.'"

By 1995 the contract no longer looked a smart decision and Pippen, who never made over $4 million a year during the Bulls' six title runs, told TNT Sports during a court side interview he wanted to be traded.

Jordan's trusted ally was subject to a host of trade rumors, linking him with moves to Seattle, Sacramento, Miami and the Los Angeles Lakers, but he never left the Bulls, which only compounded his frustration and led him to label Krause a "compulsive liar."

Pippen won two more titles after the interview was released but trade talks lingered on into the 1997-98 campaign and he again demanded to be traded, but to no avail.

Frustrated with the Bulls' front office, Pippen underwent surgery on his left foot ahead of the season. His decision to wait until training camp to have surgery reportedly annoyed some of his teammates, chief among them Jordan, who was frustrated at the prospect of having to carry an even heavier than usual load.

The injury had troubled Pippen since the spring and the Central Arkansas alumnus felt his absence may eventually force the Bulls executives to recognize his contribution. Having missed just 19 games in the previous nine seasons combined, Pippen sat out the first 35 games of the season and did not return until January.

Jordan acknowledged Pippen's absence could dent the aura of invincibility around the Bulls.

"Every day that Scottie wasn't playing gave someone else confidence that they could beat us," he explained.

As the Bulls marched towards a second three-peat, Pippen was Chicago's second-best player in scoring, rebounding, and minutes played and led the team in assists and steals. Incredibly, however, he was the team's sixth highest paid player and ranked 122nd in the league in terms of salary.

"It was embarrassing," Jackson said in The Last Dance when asked about his former player's salary. "Because he was maybe the No. 2 player in the NBA. His value was immense."

By comparison, having made a combined $29 million in his first two deals with the Bulls, Jordan signed back-to-back contracts with the franchise, each worth at least $30 million per year.

By the time the 1997-98 season began, Jordan's $33 million-a-year salary was the highest in the NBA, exceeding the second highest—the $20.5 million-a-year the New York Knicks had given Patrick Ewing—by over $10 million.

Jordan became a commercial icon during his NBA career when Nike launched the Jordan brand and Forbes estimates his value at $2.1 billion, making him the fourth richest African American.

Pippen's value, meanwhile, is estimated to be between $30 and $50 million. As The Last Dance makes clear, however, he was a bona fide superstar in his own right and absolutely priceless on the court.

Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls, Scottie Pippen
Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan (left), injured forward Scottie Pippen (center) and forward Toni Kukoc watch their teammates play against the Milwaukee Bucks in December 1997 at the United Center, in Chicago, Illinois. Vincent Laforet/AFP/Getty