Scottie Pippen and the Bulls endured a messy breakup last year, but family is family, and that was evident Monday.
Early in the day, Pippen announced on Twitter that his oldest son, Antron, had died at 33.
‘‘I’m heartbroken to share that yesterday, I said goodbye to my firstborn son Antron,’’ Pippen tweeted. ‘‘The two of us shared a love for basketball and we had countless conversations about the game.’’
The Bulls took Pippen’s tweets about Antron and, on their own social-media account, posted above them: ‘‘The entire Bulls family is deeply saddened to see this news today. We are all thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. May Antron rest in peace.’’
Pippen didn’t reveal a cause of death, but he said his son suffered from chronic asthma.
‘‘If he hadn’t had [asthma], I truly believe he would’ve made it to the NBA,’’ Pippen tweeted. ‘‘He never let that get him down, though — Antron stayed positive and worked hard, and I am so proud of the man that he became.’’
Antron was the only child from Pippen’s first marriage to Karen McCollum. (The couple divorced in 1990.) He also was the oldest of Pippen’s seven children and grew up in Lawrenceville, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. He graduated from Collins Hill High School and went on to play college basketball at South Georgia Tech and Texas A&M International.
‘‘He’s a late bloomer, like me,’’ Pippen told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2006. ‘‘He’s probably better than I was as a high school player.’’
Antron played in the now-defunct World Basketball Association in 2013, averaging 21.6 points, 6.1 assists, 3.7 rebounds and three steals. He also shot 85% from the free-throw line.
When he was asked about his game, Antron once said: ‘‘I get along with others well, and I am a team player. Even though I am considered small, I am not very easily intimidated and can be a very strong mental player.’’
Pippen was a longtime ambassador for the Bulls before being fired early last season. The Sun-Times was the first to report the news of his firing.
I’m heartbroken to share that yesterday, I said goodbye to my firstborn son Antron. The two of us shared a love for basketball and we had countless conversations about the game. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/Zt3wo8wpcg— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) April 19, 2021
Please keep his mom, Karen, and all of his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. A kind heart and beautiful soul gone way too soon. I love you, son, rest easy until we meet again. 🙏🏾 (3/3) pic.twitter.com/eYyQ6pcdtx— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) April 19, 2021