DEERFIELD, Ill. - Scottie Pippen stood in front of the six championship trophies he helped the Chicago Bulls win and announced his retirement Tuesday, ending his 17-year NBA career in the same city where it began.
"After 17 years, I got all the basketball out of me I possibly could," Pippen said. "This was a very difficult decision for me to retire from playing a game that has been such a great part of my life."
Pippen, 39, chosen as one of the NBA's 50 greatest players in 1996 for the league's 50th anniversary, was the sidekick to Michael Jordan during the Bulls' run of dominance in the 1990s. Known for his all-around play, especially his defense against some of the league's best scorers, the seven-time All-Star won titles in 1991, '92, '93, '96, '97 and '98.
"His contributions to this franchise during his tenure here have been innumerable," Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said. "As an organization, we thank him for everything."
The Bulls plan to retire his number 33.
After leaving the Bulls in 1999 and playing one year in Houston and four in Portland, Pippen was brought back to Chicago last season to provide leadership and experience to a young Bulls team. But he had knee surgery in December and played in only 23 games as the Bulls went 23-59. It was the first time in his career Pippen missed the playoffs.
Pippen said he wouldn't have been able to play a full season.
"To say I could go 82 games would be kidding myself," he said.
"Scottie Pippen is the epitome of a true professional. He is a great teammate and a winner who is one of the best to ever wear a Bulls uniform," said John Paxson, the team's executive vice president of basketball operations, who played with Pippen in Chicago. "Our decision to bring Scottie back last summer served us well ... Scottie will always be a part of the Chicago Bulls family and we wish him nothing but the best."