On the eve of Scottie Pippen's induction into basketball's highest society, Phil Jackson recalled him as "the ultimate team player." Quite the homage from Jackson, the former Chicago Bulls coach who once watched incredulously as Pippen sat down with 1.8 seconds left in a deadlocked playoff game against the Knicks and refused to get up.
It was 1994 — Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals — and Pippen wanted the ball for the last shot because Michael Jordan, on a baseball sabbatical, was not around to take it. Jackson instead nominated Toni Kukoc, a European legend but an N.B.A. rookie, who made the winning jumper.
"A lot of people thought the 1.8-second 'denial' would define Scottie's career," Jackson wrote in an e-mail. Instead, Pippen's entry into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Friday night for his 17-year, six-championship career will be the final answer to those who argued he never, ever, would live down the episode of Sitting Bull.