As legions of fans awaited news about Derrick Rose's MRI results Saturday, Bulls legend Scottie Pippen played video games with his fans in a mall.
If Pippen had any insider information or was worried about the effect those results would have on the team, he wasn't showing it.
"We have to move on as a team no matter what the situation is," Pippen said, just hours before it was revealed that Rose had torn the meniscus in his right knee. "Right now, we're hoping the best for Derrick."
Pippen, a special adviser to Bulls president Michael Reinsdorf, gave an exclusive interview to RedEye before an appearance at the Shops at North Bridge on Michigan Avenue. He provided a handful of fans a chance to live out a dream: take Pippen one on one in basketball.
Kind of. Fans got to play Pippen for about two minutes each in a game of "NBA 2K14" on the new Xbox One as part of a promotional event.
"I didn't practice," he said. "You want the fans to win. It's all about interacting with the fans and having some fun."
Pippen, who says he considers himself a pretty big gamer, said he's a better basketball player than any of the dozens of video game incarnations of him.
"I don't really consider that they could make this computer better than me, but I guess it is possible," he said. "I still think I would outplay that computer."
Just don't expect to see him on a court anytime soon. While he helped lead the Bulls to six championships in the 1990s, Pippen says his playing days are long behind him.
And unlike his longtime running mate Michael Jordan, Pippen's not about to compare himself to the current generation of stars.
Jordan recently said a lineup composed of himself, Pippen, James Worthy, Hakeem Olajuwon and Magic Johnson would be unbeatable. When asked why, Pippen refused to take the bait.
"You might need to ask Michael that. He put the team together," he said. "I think he felt like he selected some of the best players that have been part of the history of the game."
While the current generation has grown up with the likes of Rose and Joakim Noah, Pippen says plenty of younger fans still appreciate what he and his teammates were able did nearly 20 years ago.
"I think a lot of fans recognize history and what players have played before this generation," he said.
But even if they don't, he's fine with that. "You don't try to hold on to it."
What about Dennis Rodman?
"Dennis is gonna be Dennis," Pippen said of his former teammate, who has visited North Korea recently. "That's the way he's always lived his life. He's his own boss and he makes his own decisions. There's not much to make of it. Dennis is always gonna go out and do the total opposite of what you think. I think people expect that of him."
Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.
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