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Old 04-08-2011, 07:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Kelly Dwyer on Pippen and the Bulls

Pippen, who has come back to Chicago in 2010-11 to act as "team ambassador," got a more colorful tribute, literally. The statue doesn't just bronze the Basketball Hall of Famer -- it also gave color to his hair and his blood red Bulls jersey.

At a halftime ceremony unveiling the work, Pippen was typically smooth, articulate and gracious. Posing with his wife Larsa and his four children, he thanked the sold-out crowd effusively while ranking the honor "at the top" of the many achievements (two gold medals, six NBA championships, seven All-Star Game appearances, a jersey retirement and last summer's Hall of Fame induction) he has received in his basketball career.

It's hard to imagine such a ceremony taking place this time back in 1999, just two months after the Bulls signed and traded Pippen after a rancorous end to his initial run with the franchise. Pippen had long clashed with former Bulls General Manager Jerry Krause, who had scouted and drafted the unheralded forward in 1987, and Pippen (ranked 122nd among NBA players in yearly salary after signing a penny-wise, but pound-foolish long contract years before) demanded a trade as Chicago attempted to defend its title in December 1997.
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