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Pippen: I’m out if Isiah in Olympics

From the archives: Scottie Pippen says he will not accept Isiah Thomas as an Olympic teammate.

Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan had their issues with Isiah Thomas.
Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan had their issues with Isiah Thomas.
NBAE via Getty Images

Originally published Nov. 14, 1991.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Scottie Pippen on Wednesday reiterated his Tuesday vow not to play on the U.S. Olympic team if Detroit Pistons star Isiah Thomas is named to replace Magic Johnson.

“If they name Isiah to the team, then I will get off it,” Pippen said. “I won’t play with him because there’s too much bad blood between us. He’s a phony. He wears that little sneaky grin of his just to fool people.”

Pippen’s anger resulted from Thomas pushing him during a near-brawl after Pistons center Bill Laimbeer had fouled and kicked Horace Grant in the third quarter of the game Tuesday. Thomas was restrained by referee Luis Brillo; Pippen was restrained by teammates.

“Isiah has always been a little cheap-shot artist,” Pippen said, “and I believe I’m not the only one on the team who feels that way. I don’t like him. After Laimbeer kicked Horace, I just was coming over like everybody else to see what was happening. Then, out of nowhere, Isiah just comes up and pushed me for no reason. From the way I feel right now, I would not play with him.”

Pippen was one of the 10 players originally select ed to represent the United States in Barcelona, Spain, next summer.

JORDAN WOULD ACCEPT THOMAS: Although there has been rumored rancor between Thomas and Michael Jordan and rumors that Jordan kept Thomas off the Olympic team, Jordan said he would have no trouble playing with Thomas.

“If Isiah is placed on the team, I would respect him as a teammate and play with him as such,” Jordan said. “I understand what Scottie has said. But that’s his opinion, and he’s entitled to it.”