The Chicago Bulls’ second best player throughout the Michael Jordan era, Scottie Pippen, has long been considered one of the better players in the history of the league. However, there are a lot of people out there that just don’t know how much money Pippen was making for all of his efforts on the court.
How Much Did Scottie Pippen Make a Year? Over the course of his NBA career, he earned approximately $109,957,430. The lowest amount of money that he ever made throughout the course of one year was in his second season, with $575,000 coming his way. As for the most amount he ever received in one season, that came towards the end of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers, raking in $19,727,524 for his services.
Why did his contract fluctuate so much over the years? Did he really earn more than Michael Jordan himself back then? What were some of the contracts that he signed over the course of his career?
Started Off Slow
When Pippen was drafted to the NBA with the 5th pick in 1987, he started out slow in his earnings. He signed an entry level four-year, $2,830,000 million deal with the Chicago Bulls. He earned $725,000 for three out of his first four years except for his sophomore season, when he picked up that aforementioned $575,000. Don’t worry though, he completely turned it all around when it was time to negotiate a second deal with Chicago. He didn’t hold back on some of his demands and grabbed a seven-year, $19,445,000 contract with the organization. As you could have expected with a deal like this, he was set to earn quite a bit more money. Though, in today’s NBA, this type of deal is far less than what superstars are making now. Just look at players like Steph Curry, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Anyways, Pippen began to bank about $2 million a season for the remainder of that contract. There were two years where he broke the $3 million threshold but the rest remained in the $2 million area. While he was making good money with the organization, he knew that his value was more than what he was being paid. Although this was comparative with other stars of the time, Jordan himself, Charles Barklay, Isiah Thomas, Karl Malone and even Celtics golden boy Larry Bird.
The NBA Salary cap in 1987 was $6.1million. That’s not the max 1 year salary, that was what the entire roster had to fit within. When he signed his first extension with the Bulls, for seven years. The cap had more than doubled, but still sat at just $12.5million. 1995 saw the biggest cap jump (prior to 2016’s monster rise) when the camp leapt up by over $7million to reach $23million. At this point, due to the typical 7 year contract of the time, Pippen still had 3 years left on his low end deal before he could take advantage of the cap leap. To put this in context the salary cap for the 2021-22 season is $122million.
Massive Deals with Other Organizations
Pippen was very aware that he needed to be paid more if he was going to keep playing in the NBA. He knew he was an excellent player with a championship resume, second best only to Jordan on SIX title winning teams and had proven himself a winner during the GOATs Baseball sabbatical. He wanted to be compensated as such. His 7 year extension with the Bulls ran out when Jordan retired after their 6th title in 1998.
This was when he ended up spending a season with the Houston Rockets. The contract was actually a part of a sign and trade deal as the Bulls looked to rebuild. Pippen was flipped to the Rockets in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2000 and Roy Rogers. It was only a one-year stop, as Pippen would be traded after one year. The extension he signed meant that even for the 1 year he played in Houston the $11million salary he earned eclipsed everything he had earned in the NBA up until that point.
This contract, signed in 1998 with the Bulls, but paid out by both Houston and Portland proved to be the biggest of his career. The sign and trade that the Rockets were able to negotiate set Pippen up to receive $77 million over the course of the next five years. The first $11 million of that deal was already handed out to him when he was with the Rockets.
Pippen was traded to Portland in October 1999 for Walt Williams, Kelvin Cato, Stacey Augmon, Carlos Rogers, Ed Gray and Brian Shaw. Pippen would remain in Portland for the remainder of that contract. He picked up $14,795,642 in his opening year with Portland and ended his run there with his largest 1 year haul of $19,727,524. Each of the four years that Pippen was on the franchise were the four largest single season earnings for his career. I don’t know about you, but this perfectly explains the type of value that he had during his years in the league, no matter what team Scottie played for.
Pippen would retire in Chicago
Pippen knew that he wanted to end his career in Chicago and likely felt a little bit better about the situation now that he got paid like he wanted. Chicago had no arguments about a potential return and inked him down to a two-year, $10,325,700 contract. Pippen made $4.9 million in that first year back with his original team and then picked up the remaining $5.4 million in the final year of his long run in the NBA.
When all was said and done, Pippen played at a time when the NBA was about to become a global phenom that could essentially print it’s own money. His dynamic and awe inspiring partnership with Jordan was a big reason for this. So while Pippen was seemingly underpaid for his first 11 years on the Bulls where he won 6 titles and racked up multiple allstar appearances, the league grew and he was financially compensated on the back end of his career, when his on court impact was much less.
Pippen made the most amount of money on the Trail Blazers. He earned approximately $66 million with the organization in just those four years. He made an additional $32.6 million from all of those years with the Bulls, with a 3rd of that coming in his final 2 years when he returned before retiring. He had that one single season with the Rockets for $11 million.
Even if it all seems like he should have been making more, he was still a six-time NBA Champion with the Bulls. He was on the All-NBA Defensive First Team eight times and was on the All-NBA First Team three times. Oh, that’s right, and he was also a seven-time NBA All-Star and thought of as one of the greatest players of his generation. Those years making less money with the Bulls ended up being the most successful years of his career and without them, he may not have nearly the accolades he does today. Though that is all just hypothetical at this point in time.
Did Scottie Pippen make more money than Michael Jordan?
During their playing careers Scottie Pippen racked up a total of $109,957,430 over 18 seasons. His partner, the Batman to his Robin, amassed a pitiful $93,772,500 in his 16 seasons in the league. Scottie Pippen earned over $16million more than Michael Jordan from their playing salaries. Jordan however became one of the biggest fashion icons of all time, signing multiple endorsement deals and eventually becoming a Billionaire, in no small part due to his shoe contracts with Nike and the rise of Jordan Brand. Jordan is also rich enough to be the majority owner of his hometown NBA team, the Charlotte Bobcats.
Pippen vs Jordan NBA Salaries
|Scottie Pippen||Michael Jordan|
|Total||18 seasons||$109,957,430||16 seasons||$93,772,500|